Finland is trying to persuade Turkey to support NATO membership

As Turkey remains defiant in its plans to reject Finland’s bid to join NATO, the Nordic country is hoping it can persuade Turkey to change its position and join the other members of the alliance in approving Finland’s bid .

“We stand ready to openly and constructively discuss any concerns Turkey has about our membership. These talks have already taken place and will continue over the next few days,” Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said at the White House on Thursday.

Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson had met with President Joe Biden to advance both countries’ formal bid to join NATO.

Their NATO bids have been widely hailed as a blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stalled possible memberships by refusing to accept the bids while accusing Finland and Sweden of harboring people who associated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). . This group has been labeled a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union.

A NATO proposal would require the approval of all 30 existing members. Each member country has the right to veto an offer.

Finland Turkey NATO
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said Finland is “open to discussing any concerns Turkey may have regarding ours.” [NATO] Membership’ on Thursday. Above, Niinisto addresses a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki May 11.
Antti Aimo-Koivisto/AFP

On Thursday, Niinistö dismissed Turkey’s claims, saying: “We take terrorism seriously. We condemn terrorism in all its forms and we are actively committed to fighting it.”

“Finland has always had proud and good bilateral relations with Turkey,” he said. “As NATO allies, we will be committed to Turkey’s security just as Turkey is committed to our security.”

His remarks came less than a day after Erdoğan said Turkey plans to “continue on our path” to flatly reject Finland and Sweden’s NATO offers.

“We have told our relevant friends that we would say ‘no’ to Finland and Sweden joining NATO and we will continue on our way,” he said in a video released on Wednesday.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said the two countries should stop supporting terrorist groups, provide security guarantees and lift export bans on Turkey, Reuters reported.

“This is not a threat, this is not a negotiation where we are trying to assert our interests,” he said on Sunday, adding that Turkey is not opposed to NATO’s open-door policy, according to Reuters.

On Thursday, Andersson said Sweden is also in talks with Turkey over its pending application.

“We are currently holding a dialogue with all NATO member countries, including Turkey, at various levels to resolve all pending issues,” she said at the White House.

https://www.newsweek.com/finland-sweden-nato-membership-turkey-sauli-niinisto-magdalena-andersson-recep-tayyip-erdogan-1708271 Finland is trying to persuade Turkey to support NATO membership

Rick Schindler

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