On Monday, the heads of state for Finland and Sweden will meet with officials from Turkey to discuss Ankara’s ongoing objections over their applications to join NATO. These objections have slowed a process that other members of the alliance have been eager to speed up, so the meeting comes at an appropriate time.
The previous month, Sweden and Finland made the announcement that the Nordic countries will submit bids to join NATO together as a group. Other members of the alliance, who have wanted to display solidarity and increase their power as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grinds on, have mostly applauded the move. They have done so because Russia’s assault of Ukraine continues.
On the other hand, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear that he intends to prevent Sweden and Finland from joining the alliance. He claims that both countries have shown support for Kurdish militants, which he considers to be terrorists. Because the NATO selection process is based on consensus, his attitude has made the candidates’ chances more difficult.
In an effort to resolve the concerns expressed by the Turkish government, officials from Finland and Sweden have been in contact with their counterparts in Turkey. Even the defence ministers of the NATO countries have been talking about how to make Turkey happy.
On Sunday, Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, said that the alliance takes seriously the concerns expressed by the Turkish government. However, he did not provide any specifics on a potential settlement to the issue.
TRT, the state-run media of Turkey, has said that it has received confirmation that a team from Ankara has arrived in Brussels on Sunday in preparation for the discussions. According to Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson for Mr. Erdogan, who was speaking to reporters, discussions cannot go further unless tangible actions are done.
The talks that took place on Monday take place as Russia maintains its bombardment of eastern Ukraine with strikes, which is resulting in an increasing number of casualties on both sides in a conflict that Western officials have warned might go for years.
In May, President Biden had a meeting in the Rose Garden of the White House with the President of Finland, Sauli Niinisto, and the Prime Minister of Sweden, Magdalena Andersson, during which they made a commitment to expedite their countries’ admission into the European Union. He regarded their entry into the alliance as nearly a formality, adding that both nations had committed troops to battles in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He said that this was one of the reasons why their participation was almost a formality.