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Finland’s president suggests pause in trilateral talks with Turkey over Sweden’s NATO bid


Finland’s president calls for a pause in trilateral talks with Turkey over its NATO bid with Sweden.

“As far as NATO membership is concerned, we have to take it calmly and we have to wait for the elections in Turkey to take place,” President Sauli Niinisto said. Parliamentary elections in Turkey are not scheduled before mid-June 2023.

He follows the Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto who hinted on Tuesday that Helsinki considered joining the military alliance without Sweden.

Haavisto said NATO membership for the two Nordic countries was “absolutely the number one option”, but that “we have to be prepared to assess the situation”.

He was then asked to clarify his remarks at a hastily prepared press conference. Haavisto acknowledged he had been “vague”, adding that Helsinki was simply planning for all the potential outcomes that might unfold in the bid process – including a solo push in its own NATO bid.

The position also follows Turkey’s decision to block Sweden’s candidacy, in angry reaction to an anti-Turkish protest that took place in Stockholm. The protest sparked outrage in Turkey after a Danish extremist burned a copy of the Koran outside the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital.

The latest heist raises doubts about whether the two Nordic countries will join NATO.

Sweden calls for a return to the drawing board

In order to ease tensions with Ankara, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson says he wants to restore “dialogue” with Turkey.

“I want to urge calm in this process because I want to return to functional talks on the issues on which we have agreed that we have made progress. Sweden, Finland and Turkey have a trilateral agreement and it is working well. Obviously we don’t think the same way on all issues, we have different laws in our countries,” says Kristersson.

Kristersson continues: “I think, as someone said, I would have two thoughts in mind: we are fully committed to Swedish freedom of speech and we are very keen to complete NATO membership. with Finland.

Sweden and Finland launched their candidacy to join NATO when Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago.

Turkey, however, refused to endorse their offer until both countries took action, including joining Turkey’s fight against banned Kurdish activists.

Watch the video in the player above.

euronews Gt

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