This article was last updated on July 5, 2022
Sweden and Finland are “not in a race” to join NATO, but they are “closer.”
The protocols for Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership have been signed by all 30 NATO countries in Brussels. Official membership in the military alliance will not be granted until all nations’ parliaments have given their blessing. Ankara is the focus of everyone’s attention.
Prior to the signing of a “positive day” for Finland, Sweden, and NATO, NATO chief Stoltenberg addressed the assembled press. As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “with 32 nations at the table, we will be even stronger and our people safer in the face of the largest security crisis in decades.”
Turkey’s involvement in the ratification process is critical, and it will take months. A week ago, Ankara finally agreed to the terms after a protracted stalemate. A letter of intent signed by Turkish officials still provides a lot of opportunity for Turkish opposition to the final membership.
Among other things, Turkey was able to relax the embargo on weaponry exports from Sweden and Finland. Other assurances were made to help Turkey fight terrorism. Erdogan stated at the conference that Turkey expected Sweden and Finland to extradite many terrorism suspects, including Kurdish militants and Gulenists, as well as those from Syria and Iraq. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of Turkey, thinks that a Turkish cleric named Fethullah Gülen was behind the failed coup in 2016.
As quickly as possible, Finland and Sweden have declared their wish to deal with the extradition petitions, but stress that extradition is not a foregone conclusion. Ultimately, the judge has a hand in this process as well.
Mitra Nazar, a Turkish correspondent, says:
Last week’s Memorandum of Understanding is open to a variety of interpretations.On one hand, it’s about supporting Turkey’s battle against its own domestic terrorism; on the other hand, it’s about blocking Western assistance for the Kurdish militia backed by the West in Syria.
Those extradition demands appear to be the most significant for Turkey. The governments of Sweden and Finland have stated they will look into these requests, but Turkey interprets this as an agreement to deport hundreds of people it believes to be terrorists.
The race has yet to begin. As a result, there is once again a deadlock in this situation.
It’s still possible for Turkey to obstruct, and President Erdogan has a strong desire to do so for the sake of the Turkish people. Elections will be held in the year ahead. In order to succeed, he will need a nudge. The economy is in shambles, and so are the polls. Terrorism, the PKK, and the need to tell Western friends where you stand are all issues that Mr. Erdogan’s supporters care a lot about.
The Dutch cabinet today ratified Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO membership. The ministers decided in a second council that they would seek immediate guidance from the Council of State on the approval statute. Before the end of the week, you may expect to hear that advice. The Cabinet intends to send the bill to the House of Representatives as soon as possible. Both Houses of Congress are expected to back Foreign Minister Hoekstra.
A six-month period ago, Hoekstra added, we were living in an entirely different time. This was unthinkable for Sweden and Finland to do on their own at the time. “Yet they do it, and it speaks everything about the battle in Ukraine and the war on our continent,” he continues. “
According to Hoekstra, a NATO expansion that includes Sweden and Finland would benefit the security of the Netherlands. He said Sweden and Finland are well-prepared in terms of their militaries, emphasizing how this benefits NATO.
The minister predicts that Turkey, too, will finally agree to the two countries’ membership applications. This has been confirmed by the Turkish president, who said last week that he would sign it. Hoekstra is hopeful that Sweden and Finland will join the EU in the near future.