Turkish President Erdogan remains adamant when it comes to the upcoming NATO negotiations with Finland and Sweden. Since Ankara has refused to join the alliance, Finnish Prime Minister Marin is concerned about the progress of the talks.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin fears that Finland and Sweden's NATO accession negotiations will be delayed if no agreement is reached with Turkey by the alliance's summit meeting in Madrid at the end of June. "I think it's important that we move forward on this issue," Marin told journalists during a visit to Sweden. "If we don't solve these problems before Madrid, we risk freezing the situation."
Finland and Sweden have abandoned decades of military neutrality and applied for NATO membership just months after Russia invaded Ukraine in May. All 30 NATO members must unanimously approve the accession of new member states. However, Turkey is blocking the admission of the two Nordic countries.
Ankara has accused Sweden and Finland of harboring the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey and western allies label as a "terrorist organization". Marin said that Finland takes Turkey's concerns seriously and wants to address the issues and clear up possible misunderstandings. But Ankara must also try to find a solution.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg assured Sweden of the alliance's support and assistance on Monday. "From a security policy perspective, Sweden is in a better position today than it was before it applied for membership," said Stoltenberg during a visit to Sweden. The NATO allies, in particular Great Britain and the USA, have already issued security guarantees to the accession candidate.
Should the Scandinavian country be attacked, it is "unthinkable that the NATO allies would not react," Stoltenberg said. That was made clear to "every potential attacker". The defense alliance is also working "hard and actively" to allay Turkey's concerns so that Sweden and Finland can quickly join NATO.