Finland's president says he is 'sure' Turkey's Erdogan will eventually back NATO bid

Finland's president says he is 'sure' Turkey's Erdogan will eventually back NATO bid
·2 min read
Finland's President Sauli Niinisto attends a joint news conference on Finland's security policy decisions at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, May 15, 2022.
Finland's President Sauli Niinisto attends a joint news conference on Finland's security policy decisions at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, May 15, 2022.Heikki Saukkomaa/ Lehtikuva/via REUTERS
  • Finland's president on Tuesday said he's "sure" Turkey's Erdogan will eventually back a NATO bid.

  • Erdogan has previously said he will not support Finland and Sweden joining NATO.

  • NATO enlargement requires unanimous support among its 30 member states.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said on Tuesday that he's "sure" Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will eventually support Finland's and Sweden's bids to join NATO.

"In recent days, Turkey's statements have changed and hardened very quickly. I am sure, however, that we will solve the situation through constructive discussions," Niinisto said in an address to Sweden's Parliament.

Finland and Sweden announced their intentions to formally apply to join NATO on Sunday.

Erdogan has said he will not support the move, citing the Scandinavian countries' support for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — who Turkey considers terrorists.

NATO enlargement requires unanimous support among its 30 member states, leaving all eyes on Turkey. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg previously said the alliance would welcome Finland and Sweden with open arms.

"We hope that all Member States will give their strong support," Niinisto said on Tuesday. "We expect to sign the accession protocols soon, after which we hope for swift ratification by national parliaments of the member countries."

Niinisto said Finland — and neighboring Sweden — enjoy "wide support" among NATO member states and will be able to "enforce" the alliance with political, military, and societal stability.

"As NATO members, our primary task will continue to be to secure our own territories," Niinisto said. "But at the same time, we are committed to taking responsibility for the security of our allies."

The two Nordic countries have long been militarily unaligned but cited Russian President Vladimir Putin's unprovoked war in Ukraine as the final catalyst that pushed them to seek NATO membership.

Russia over the last few weeks delivered threats and warnings to both countries, saying that joining NATO could bring northern Europe closer to conflict. Russian leaders have seemingly taken a more relaxed stance on the move in recent days.

Meanwhile, Finland's parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining NATO on Tuesday as public and political support for the military alliance continues to soar.

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