Although both Nordic countries have held negotiations with NATO, Turkey and Hungary have not yet ratified their offers. The biggest obstacle has been Turkey, which has expressed its opposition to Finland’s and Sweden’s view of the PKK, which it considers a terrorist organization.
However, his visit to Ankara last Friday the president Erdoğan said that Turkey is making progress in ratifying Finland’s NATO application. This has led to speculation that Finland could join the alliance before Sweden. President Niinistö defended the decision, saying that Finland had no choice but to accept Turkey’s ratification offer.
Niinistö also stated that the three Nordic neighbors – Finland, Sweden and Denmark – are conducting separate negotiations with the United States on security issues. They are trying to reach a bilateral military agreement similar to what Norway has done with Washington in the past. Niinistö called these negotiations a big change and almost more significant than NATO membership. He said that if the Nordic countries have a direct and similar military agreement with the United States, it would mean a lot for their security.
Although Finland and Sweden are committed to joining NATO together, that seems increasingly unlikely given the slow progress of Sweden’s application. However, Niinistö emphasized that Finland and Sweden have decided to join the alliance “hand in hand as long as it is in our hands”.
Hungary has announced that it will accept Finland’s NATO application on March 27, while Sweden’s application will be discussed later. Niinistö admitted that the ratification of Finland’s NATO membership is in the hands of Turkey and Hungary.
NATO Secretary General Mr. Jens Stoltenbergwill receive Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haaviston and Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen at NATO headquarters today.
Source: The Nordic Page