NATO

Finland’s top diplomat hints at joining NATO without Sweden

WORLD

Turkey’s president has warned Sweden not to expect support. For his bid after weekend protests by anti-Islam activists. And pro-Kurdish groups in Stockholm.
Finland’s top diplomat suggested on Tuesday. That the country may have to consider joining NATO without Sweden. after Turkey’s president expressed serious doubts about expanding the military alliance.

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“We still have to assess the situation if it turns out that Sweden’s application is pending for a long time.” Foreign Minister Pekka Havisto told Finnish broadcaster YLE.

His comments came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip. Erdogan warned Sweden not to expect support. For its bid for NATO membership following weekend protests. By anti-Islam activists and pro-Kurdish groups in Stockholm. This is the first time a top government official. From a country has expressed doubts about joining the alliance. Havisto later backpedaled, telling reporters in parliament. That his comments earlier Tuesday were “untenable.” And that Finland’s ambitions to join NATO jointly with Sweden remained unchanged.

He said he had spoken with NATO. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who emphasized to Havisto. That the military bloc wants the two Nordic countries to join at once.

“But of course concerns have been raised within NATO. About how the (recent) events in Sweden will affect the schedule,” Havisto said.

Sweden and Finland’s bids to join NATO. Must the approval of all existing NATO members, including Turkey. Which has so far blocked expansion. Requiring Sweden to crack down in particular. On exiled Kurdish militants and their sympathizers.

But Havisto’s comments to YLE raised concerns that Finland is considering moving forward. Without its Nordic neighbour.

“We are in contact with Finland to find out. What is actually meant,” Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said. In a statement to The Associated Press. “Sweden respects the agreement between Sweden, Finland and Turkey of our NATO membership. We have done so so far and we will continue to do so.”

In a memorandum of understanding signed by the three countries at a NATO summit last year. Sweden and Finland pledged not to support Kurdish militant groups. And to lift an arms embargo imposed on Turkey after its incursion into northern Syria in 2019.

Pro-Kurdish and anti-Turkish protests in Stockholm have complicated the process. On Saturday, a Danish far-right activist staged a protest outside. The Turkish embassy in Stockholm where he burned Islam’s holy book, the Quran. A separate pro-Kurdish protest was held in the Swedish capital later on Saturday.

The Swedish government has tried to distance itself from the protests, insisting. That such demonstrations are permitted under the country’s freedom of speech.

Turkey reacted angrily to the protests, canceling a planned. Visit to Ankara by the Swedish defense minister.

Erdogan condemned the Swedish authorities for allowing the burning of the Koran.

“It is clear that those who allowed such heinous incidents. To take place in front of our embassy cannot expect. Any more charity from us about their NATO membership application,” he said.

He also criticized the pro-Kurdish protests, accusing Sweden. Of “allowing terrorist organizations to run wild on your streets and roads.” He said that if Sweden does not show respect to Turkey or Muslims, “they will not see any support from us on the NATO issue.

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