The idea of separate bids reportedly arose out of a diplomatic spat with Trkiye
Helsinki remains determined to join NATO alongside Stockholm, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has said. The two Nordic countries applied simultaneously, but due to the differences in their relations with alliance member Trkiye, their bids may be viewed separately by Ankara.
“We have received different signals from Trkiye. Our stance is clear: We will join NATO with Sweden. Our goal is that both Finland and Sweden move forward together.” Sauli Niinisto said on Tuesday during a joint press conference with Canadian Governor General Mary Simon.
Finland and Sweden both announced their bid for NATO membership after Russia launched the military operation in Ukraine last February. Together with Hungary, Turkey is the last two NATO member states that have not yet ratified Sweden’s and Finland’s applications to join the alliance. Trouble arose after Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan, who also holds Swedish citizenship, led a protest in Stockholm and burned the Koran in front of the Turkish embassy last month. The rally was officially approved by Swedish officials, despite Trkiye’s repeated warnings. Because of this, Ankara puts sticks in the wheel of Stockholm’s NATO bid, where Finland ends up in the crossfire.
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Citing insider sources, Daily Iltalehti wrote on Monday that the Finnish government was ready to join the military alliance without Stockholm.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in late January: “We can react differently to Finland if necessary. Sweden will be shocked when we give a different answer for Finland.” Erdogan added that Helsinki should not “make the same mistake” like his neighbor.
Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on Tuesday that Stockholm is prepared to talk to Ankara when it is ready.