Niinistö: Finland has no plans to join NATO without Sweden
Finland refuses to join the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) without Sweden. This was announced by President Sauli Niinisto at the press-conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is visiting his country, on June 12.
According to him, if Sweden’s problems with Turkey, which has vetoed the two countries’ accession because of its support for terrorist organizations, are not resolved, Finland will support Sweden.
“I say Sweden’s case is ours. That means we go forward hand in hand,” NRK quoted Niinistö as saying.
As previously reported, Stoltenberg himself, responding to a question about Turkey blocking Sweden and Finland at the same press conference, stressed that he would like to see the situation resolved as soon as possible, saying that Turkey’s fears were entirely legitimate. He also pointed out that the NATO summit in Madrid from June 28 to 30 is not a deadline for resolving this country’s questions about the possibility of the two Nordic countries joining the North Atlantic Alliance.
On June 11, it became known that Finnish authorities do not want to extradite members of preacher Fethullah Gulen’s Hizmet movement, which Ankara considers terrorist, to Turkey to join NATO. According to the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat, by early June Helsinki had received ten extradition requests from Ankara, seven of which were approved. Finland extradited two people, but according to the newspaper, they were not connected with terrorism.
On June 8, Turkey put forward 10 conditions for lifting the veto on the membership of Sweden and Finland in NATO. Thus, one of the points was a proposal to support Turkey in its fight against terrorist organizations, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the organizations of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen FETO, DHKP/C, DAESH and their branches.
On June 3, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in telephone talks with Stoltenberg that Sweden and Finland should stop supporting terrorism, lift sanctions on Turkey and show allied solidarity for NATO membership.