Finland, Sweden promise to join NATO together in united front to Turkey
HELSINKI (Reuters) -Finland and Sweden will joint NATO at the same time, their prime ministers said on Friday, presenting a united front to Turkey which has raised questions about both their applications.
The Nordic neighbours asked to join the alliance in May in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but ran into objections from Turkey which accused the two of harbouring groups it deems terrorists.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Friday Turkey’s president had told her he had more questions for Sweden than for her country. But she said she would not leave Sweden behind in the process.
“It is very important for us, of course, that Finland and Sweden would join NATO hand in hand,” Marin told reporters at a joint press conference in Helsinki with her Swedish counterpart.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said as recently as Oct. 6 that his country still opposed Sweden’s bid.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, who took office last week, said: “We have been taking every step, so far, hand in hand and none of us have any other ambition.”
He said he would meet Erdogan soon. “It’s completely legitimate that Turkey gets confirmation that Sweden is doing what Sweden has committed to do within the framework of the agreement,” he added.
Swedish daily Aftonbladet on Friday cited sources saying that Turkey had invited Kristersson to a bilateral meeting in Ankara, probably on Nov. 8.
Kristersson’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for a comment.
(Reporting by Anne Kauranen in Helsinki and Simon Johnson in Stockholm editing by Anna Ringstrom and Andrew Heavens)