Turkey Could Block NATO Membership for Finland, Sweden

by | May 13, 2022

Turkey Could Block NATO Membership for Finland, Sweden

by | May 13, 2022

recep tayyip erdogan (2020 03 05) 02

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s sole Asian member has suggested it could bar two Nordic countries from entering the alliance. 

On Thursday, leaders in Helsinki said Finland would apply for NATO membership “without delay.” Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, both Finland and neighboring Sweden have increasingly discussed joining the western military bloc. Stockholm is expected to follow Helsinki’s application sometime in the coming days. 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has previously said that both nations would be “very much welcomed by all 30 allies,” even suggesting their membership could be expedited. In April, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also declared that the White House “strongly supported” membership for the Nordic states. 

On Friday, however, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara couldn’t support the move, claiming that Finland and Sweden are “home to many terrorist organizations.” He added: “We are following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we don’t hold positive views.”

For a country to join NATO, it must have unanimous support from all other members. Erdogan said his country regrets approving Greek membership after it rejoined the alliance in the 1980s, deeming it a “mistake.” Ankara and Athens have a number of ongoing territorial disputes, and even fought a war over Cyprus in 1974. 

The Turkish leader did not elaborate on his claims regarding terrorist cells active in Finland or Sweden, though he may have been referring to Kurdish groups which have clashed with Turkish forces in both Syria and Turkey itself. Western support for Kurdish militant factions in Syria has created tensions with Ankara for nearly a decade. 

Responding to Erdogan’s comments, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto called for patience and a step-by-step process as Helsinki presses its NATO bid, adding that he would meet with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Sunday to discuss the issue further. Sweden, for its part, said it remains confident it will secure backing from all NATO members to join the bloc, despite the Turkish resistance.

Amplify our Message!

Now, more than ever, antiwar voices are needed. We pride ourselves in our principled opposition to imperialism, regardless of which hemisphere it originates from. A donation of $5 per month will ensure our continued growth during an unsure time.
Donate Today!

About Kyle Anzalone and Will Porter

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of Antiwar.com and news editor of the Libertarian Institute. Will Porter is the assistant news editor of the Libertarian Insitute and a staff writer at RT. Kyle Anzalone and Will Porter host Conflicts of Interest along with Connor Freeman.

Our Books

6 Libooks011721lg

Related Articles


News Roundup 5/17/2022

News Roundup 5/17/2022

Cuba Biden will expand the number of flights to Cuba and restate a family reunification program ended by Trump. [Link] Russia The Senate passes the $40 billion aid package for Ukraine. [Link] NATO pledges open-ended military support to Ukraine. [Link] France, Germany,...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This