EU Foreign Affairs Ministers meet in Brussels
Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Pekka Haavisto speaks to members of the media as he attends a European Union (EU) Foreign Ministers' meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters/JOHANNA GERON
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Finland says time-out needed in talks with Turkey over NATO bid

20 Comments
By Essi Lehto

Finland's foreign minister said on Tuesday that a pause of a few weeks was needed in Finland and Sweden's talks with Turkey on their application to join the NATO military alliance.

Turkey's president said on Monday that Sweden should not expect his country's support after a protest near the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm at the weekend, which included the burning of a copy of the Koran.

"A time-out is needed before we return to the three-way talks and see where we are when the dust has settled after the current situation, so no conclusions should be drawn yet," Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told Reuters in a telephone interview. "I think there will be a break for a couple of weeks."

Sweden's prime minister called for calm and restraint after the weekend's protests and said he hoped to restore dialogue with NATO member Turkey as quickly as possible.

"No other national security question is more important than that we, together with Finland, quickly become members of NATO," Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told reporters.

Kristersson said there was no contradiction between upholding the right to freedom of speech in Sweden and going forward with the process of joining NATO.

Sweden and Finland applied last year to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization after Russia invaded of Ukraine, and now need the backing of all current NATO states to advance their application.

But the Swedish government is in a bind.

Turkey has reacted strongly to protests in Sweden, which included the hanging of an effigy of President Tayyip Erdogan from a lamppost earlier this month. Prosecutors took no action over the incident, while this weekend's protests had received permission from the police to go ahead.

Ankara has also criticised Sweden over failing to extradite individuals it says are militants from the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and a group it blames for a 2016 coup attempt.

The government says it is following domestic and European law regarding extraditions.

Initially hoping for swift approval last year, Haavisto now believes Ankara is unlikely to decide on whether to accept the Finnish and Swedish applications until after the Turkish elections due in mid-May.

The next window of opportunity for membership approval is thus likely to be between then and a NATO summit in Vilnius on July 11-12, Haavisto told a news conference.

Turkey has said that Sweden in particular must take a clearer stance against what Ankara sees as terrorists.

Erdogan on Monday announced that presidential and parliamentary elections would be brought forward a month to May 14.

Haavisto said he had spoken on Monday with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

"Of course they feel the pressure from the upcoming elections in mid-May and because of that the discussion understandably has become heated in many ways in Turkey," Haavisto said.

Haavisto earlier told the broadcaster Yle that Finland should "assess the situation" if Sweden were to be permanently blocked from NATO entry, while adding it was too early to decide what this might mean.

Finland and Sweden have said they plan to join the alliance simultaneously and Haavisto told Reuters he saw no reason to consider whether Finland might go ahead alone.

© Thomson Reuters 2023.

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

20 Comments
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Why should American protect Sweden and Finland

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Why should American protect Sweden and Finland

It actually works the other way. In NATO everyone defends everyone else. After 9-11 when the USAF was busy in Afghanistan the Luftwaffe was flying missions over the US to defend US airspace. I will never forget that. They pulled missions in the US so the USAF could fight in Afghanistan. The Germans and others including Sweden sent their ground forces to Afghanistan to fight alongside the US against the Taliban. Yeah, neutral Sweden sent a battalion of their Army to fight in Afghanistan. The US owes the Swedes. They were friends and allies even though there was no formal alliance tying them to the US.

Finland has a very large and very well equipped land army right on the Russian border. They also have a capable air force. Having them in NATO is a huge deterrent to Russian aggression. Sweden has an innovative arms industry and likewise has a well trained and well equipped military. Together they make it impossible for Russia to control the Baltic. Moreover, the border of Finland is close to some of Russia's most important military bases in the Kola Peninsula. Russia would have to consider that if they picked a fight with a NATO member NATO armies could attack their bastions in that region. Having Finland and Sweden in NATO is a strong deterrent to Russia starting anything up.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

NATO is a mutual defense pact between the member countries. NATO was involved with the US after the 9/11 attacks.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Finland should apply for NATO membership alone. If Turkey still blocks the application, then the pressure should definitely be put on Turkey!

Isn't Turkey still begging for US F-16s?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Isn't Turkey still begging for US F-16s?

Yes. Turkiye wants to buy I think 20 new production F-16s and 79 upgrade kits for their existing F-16. However there are members of the US Senate who have blocked all arms sales to Turkiye for many years and they are objecting to the F-16 sale. Because of this the State Department has not formally begun the process to gain permission for the sale to Turkiye.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Turkiye = I forgot about the correct spelling!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Turkiye = I forgot about the correct spelling!

So has J-T so don't feel bad :/

5 ( +5 / -0 )

DT,how did the Afghanistan invasion go an almost 2 trillion dollars money pit

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

DT,how did the Afghanistan invasion go an almost 2 trillion dollars money pit

The invasion itself, the military operation went pretty well. The US had the Taliban on the run and rooted them out of Tora Bora in two weeks, something the mighty Soviet Army never managed in ten years of fighting there. But instead of occupying the place and rooting out all the Taliban while building institutions that would survive after the US left, the US sent its army to Iraq chasing a chimera. That was a missed opportunity. I also still criticize the US for not disarming the many Afghan warlords and their private armies. Trusting a warlord's forces let Bin Laden escape Tora Bora. He paid the militia off to let him flee. He couldn't have bought the US Army off. He'd have bought the farm. It still could have turned out ok if the US hadn't left like it did.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why is Turkey so dead set against Sweden and Finland joining NATO?

Are Sweden and Finland dangerous? No.

Are they invading their neighbors? No.

Do they have cooperative and friendly relations with brutal dictators? No.

Are they selling weapons to dictators? No.

Are they involved in war crimes or human rights abuses? No.

Quite the opposite, Sweden and Finland are at the forefront of goodwill and peace towards all. They seem to be like just the right kind of countries any peaceful organization would welcome into its fold.

On the other hand, Russia is a solid "YES" for all of the above question, yet Turkey has a wonderful and fruitful relationship with Russia.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Are Sweden and Finland dangerous? No.

In the distorted lens of Turkish politics both nations are almost mortal enemies. Why? They take in Kurdish refugees and other Turks who have fled being arrested for exposing corruption on the part of Mr. Erdogan, his family and other members of the AKP, and let them live, work and even worse run internet news sites that are critical of the Turkish government. Because they are in Sweden and Finland Turkish prosecutors can't touch them, but they sure would like to. In the minds of the Turkish, cough cough, leadership anything or anybody who is in any way critical of the current regime in Ankara has to be punished. The Anus of Ankara cannot tolerate any criticism. He and his party do not understand the whole idea of free speech. They just prosecuted the Mayor of Istanbul for calling the Supreme Election Council "stupid". That is a crime in Turkiye, insulting the state. Amazing. Sweden and Finland honor the right to free speech and the right to peaceful protest. It is beyond the ability of the Turks to comprehend this.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Here is an example of a news site run by Turkish refugees, at least one of whom is under indictment in Turkiye for his investigative reporting, that is based in Sweden. This is the kind of thing that enrages the Turks. Their rage is unjustified but it is there nonetheless.

https://nordicmonitor.com/

The people who produce this are among those the Turks want extradited to Turkiye.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Think that the Israeli regime would object if Sweden were harboring those the regime considered terrorists, and then approved a well known antiSemite to hold a demonstration and burn the Torah?

Think the commentors who think it is unreasonable for Turkiye (and why aren't comments using the other spelling automatically deemed off topic?) to object would be critical of the Israeli regime (or mention that it's human rights record includes committing crimes against humanity)

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The US had the Taliban on the run and rooted them out of Tora Bora in two weeks, something the mighty Soviet Army never managed in ten years of fighting there.

That's because the mighty Soviet Army was fighting the US which was funding the Mujahideen along with the staunch US allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

And the US had the Taliban on the run initially only till Pakistan's military decided that they were too valuable an asset to be given up so easily.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

stormcrowToday  10:49 am JST

Why is Turkey so dead set against Sweden and Finland joining NATO?

Are Sweden and Finland dangerous? No.

Are they invading their neighbors? No.

Do they have cooperative and friendly relations with brutal dictators? No.

Are they selling weapons to dictators? No.

Are they involved in war crimes or human rights abuses? No.

Quite the opposite, Sweden and Finland are at the forefront of goodwill and peace towards all. They seem to be like just the right kind of countries any peaceful organization would welcome into its fold.

Egghead Erdogan needs to shut it up. Sweden has a history of neutrality and Finland is next door to Russia. In the czarist era Finland was part of the Russian Empire. So both those nations should be more concerned now that Putin is throwing his weight around. And he's been waging cyberwar against those nations too.

They also have been taking in refugees fleeing the genocidal crap that ISIS stirred up, particularly since the usurper TrashTrump is a racist and wasn't man enough to allow into America refugees because of their ethnicity and language (it wasn't really a 'Muslim ban' because ISIS was killing Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Druze, Zoroastrians, anybody they could). What has Turkey been doing about ISIS all that time?

wallaceToday  08:25 am JST

NATO is a mutual defense pact between the member countries.

Yes. They stuck together in interviening against common menaces and enemies, like Serbia/Montenegro and Libya. And the more NATO members in the alliance the better.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Finland should apply for NATO membership alone. If Turkey still blocks the application, then the pressure should definitely be put on Turkey! 

That's the thing, though: NATO is about sticking together. If Turkey is going to block Sweden, who knows what other trouble they will cause for the alliance down the line. It's time to acknowledge one of these is not like the others.

Isn't Turkey still begging for US F-16s?

Turkey should be receiving zero NATO hardware while they are also receiving Russian ones.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The invasion itself, the military operation went pretty well. 

Uh…

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The US had the Taliban on the run and rooted them out of Tora Bora in two weeks, something the mighty Soviet Army never managed in ten years of fighting there.

That's because the mighty Soviet Army was fighting the US which was funding the Mujahideen along with the staunch US allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Yes. A most inconvenient truth. The US and its criminally stupid and ultimately self- defeating amoral “strategies”.

History repeats with the current US stupidity regarding Ukraine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

History repeats with the current US stupidity regarding Ukraine.

Whoosh, that flew over your head

Ukraine is Russia's Afghanistan. Russia lost in Afghanistan. This is Russia's stupidity

Think about it:

something the mighty Soviet Army never managed in ten years of fighting there

That's because the mighty Soviet Army was fighting the US which was funding the [Ukrainian forces] along with the staunch US allies

A most inconvenient truth why Russia lost

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What has Turkey been doing about ISIS all that time?

Nothing. The only "terrorists" the Turks are interested in fighting are the Kurds sadly. The Turks are pretty much allied with an Al Qaeda affiliate called HTS and ignore IS. But the Turks are about to throw HTS and their Syrian National Army allies under the bus and sign a deal with the Syrian government to restore diplomatic relations and return territory held by HTS and SNA to Syrian control.

The Kurds and a small number of US soldiers along with airpower from a coalition of nations and in Iraq the Iraqi Army are the forces fighting IS.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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