Photo Credit: Reuters
On 29 October, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and her Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson reaffirmed their commitment to join NATO “hand in hand”, presenting a united front to Turkey which has raised questions about both their applications.
“I want to emphasize that Finland and Sweden are preparing to join NATO together. I think this is very important for the whole security environment in Northern Europe,” Marin said at a joint press conference.
According to the Finnish leader, the entry of both Nordic countries would strengthen the US-led militaristic alliance as a whole and their entry should take place “simultaneously,” as has been the case so far with the entire accession process.
“We respect the fact that each country has to make its own decisions in this matter, but of course Sweden and Finland want ratification as quickly as possible,” Kristersson said.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said as recently as 6 October that his country still opposed Sweden’s bid.
Turkey has accused Sweden of financially aiding the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), two Kurdish groups that allegedly pose a threat to Ankara’s borders and security.
On 5 October, Turkey and Sweden kicked off their two-day talks on the Turkish extradition request for terror suspects in Sweden, as per the recent NATO agreement.
Ankara has previously urged both Sweden and Finland to support Turkey in its fight against Kurdish armed groups in Syria, as a pre-condition to agreeing to their NATO membership request.
Erdogan alleges that Sweden has approved a plan to provide $376 million to the YPG for the year 2023, a day after he announced that Ankara would resume its operation in Syria to establish a 30-kilometer ‘safe zone’ along Turkey’s southern borders.
On the other hand, Sweden’s Inspectorate of Strategic Products (ISP) announced on 30 September its decision to lift the ban on exporting military equipment to Turkey, as apart of the concession’s made by Stockholm in their pursuit to join NATO.