Turkey Drops Opposition to Finland and Sweden Joining Nato

Turkey has dropped its opposition to Finland and Sweden joining Nato following a key meeting of the leaders of the three nations ahead of a Nato summit in Madrid.

According to Finnish President Sauli Niinisto an accord was sealed by the countries, thereby removing all roadblocks for the expansion of the western military alliance. The final agreements were arrived at in the meeting of Niinisto, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The crucial meeting was brokered by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, DW reported.

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Turkey Says it Got What it Wanted

The accord underscores the commitment of all three countries to extend their full support against threats to each other's security," the Finnish President said. Meanwhile, Turkey issued an aggressively phrased statement saying it 'got what it wanted' in an obvious reference to its demand that Finland and Sweden stop supporting the Kurdish rebels. Turkey also said it "made significant gains in the fight against terrorist organizations."

Turkey's main grouse against Finland and Sweden was that the two countries were harboring leaders of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been banned in Turkey.

Map of Nato countries
Map of Nato countries wikimedia commons

It is not clear what pledges Ankara has extracted from the two Scandinavian countries in lieu for extending support for Nato membership. Turkey's another major demand was that the two Nordic nations withdraw arms embargoes placed against Ankara over its military strikes inside Syrua, targeting the Kurds.

However, the statement by NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg said Turkey's concerns, including those on arms exports and the fight against terrorism, have been addressed.

Abandoning Neutrality

Finland and Sweden have so far remained militarily neutral and have maintained cordial relations with powerful neighbor Russia. However, the Ukraine war forced a change in perceptions in each country, where popular concerns over geopolitical security came to the fore.

Sanna Marin
Sanna Marin (34), the 46th Prime Minister of Finland Twitter

The two countries will take at least a year to finish the processes associated with joining the Nato formally, including a ratification in the parliament. The move will invariably invite Moscow's wrath as Russia has tie and again warned against Nato expansion.

Last month, Russia said the decision of Finland and Sweden to join the NATO military alliance was a serious mistake and that the Scandinavian countries will have to face consequences.

"This is another grave mistake with far-reaching consequences. The general level of military tensions will increase .. It is a pity that common sense is being sacrificed for some phantom ideas about what should be done in the current situation," Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, according to Moscow Times.

Jens Stoltenberg
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

With these two nations abandoning decades-old neutrality, Russia will be forced to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on its border with Europe, the Kremlin had suggested.

US Vs Russia

If Finland and Sweden join NATO, the strength of the western security bloc will go up from 30 to 32, and will be a morale booster for the US, which has so far failed to stop the Russian war in Ukraine.

For Russia, the move will be unacceptable as the core reason for their Ukraine campaign is the opposition to NATO expansionism. Ukraine's refusal to guarantee that it will not join the US-led security alliance, coupled with other geo-strategic reasons forced President Vladimir Putin to launch the attack on Ukraine in February.