For him, it’s no. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed, Friday, May 13, his hostility to the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, at the risk of blocking the whole process which requires the unanimity of the members of the Atlantic Alliance. “We don’t have a positive opinion”said Erdogan, explaining that he does not “does not want to see the same mistake made when Greece joined”.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan further blamed Stockholm and Helsinki for serving “hostel to PKK terrorists”, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, but also by the European Union and the United States. This declaration puts a damper on a process supported so far by most NATO members in the context of the war in Ukraine. The Secretary General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, said he was ready to welcome “with open arms” Finland and Sweden.
Finland yet optimistic about Turkish support
Once the decision has been taken by a third country to join, the members of NATO must in fact agree unanimously to invite it to join them. However, Finland had expressed its confidence in Turkish support: after having discussed the subject with Erdogan at the beginning of April, his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinistö, had estimated on Twitter that “Turkey supports Finland’s goals”.
The Finnish candidacy, defended by the president and the Prime Minister, must be formalized by the executive tandem this Sunday, after the meeting of a government council. And on Friday, an official Swedish report paved the way for the country’s accession to NATO, multiplying the favorable conclusions before the decision of the Nordic country and its Finnish neighbor in the coming days.
Moscow had denounced in advance a decision which “certainly” would constitute a threat against Russia and would have “consequences (…) for the European security architecture as a whole”. However, since the beginning of the crisis and then the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ankara has done everything to maintain good relations with the two belligerent countries on which its economy is closely dependent. And this although it provides combat drones to kyiv.