Finland may consider joining NATO without Sweden under circumstances
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto says it is too early to tell whether Sweden's application to ascend to NATO will reach a dead end, but if it does, Finland might opt to join NATO alone.
As diplomatic tensions between Sweden and Turkey intensify, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, said on Tuesday that Finland may consider joining NATO without Sweden.
Earlier, it was anticipated that Sweden's bid for NATO membership could face a dead end because of strained relations between Ankara and Stockholm while no solutions were reached, thus straining the ties between the two countries.
Rallies attacking the Turkish leadership in Stockholm and the burning of the holy Quran have poured oil onto the fire, according to Paul Levin, director of Stockholm University's Institute for Turkish Studies. Levin argued that given the existing challenges, the chances of potentially altered relations between the two countries post Turkey's parliamentary elections in mid-May have become uncertain.
The Turkish standpoint
On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Stockholm shouldn't count on Ankara's approval for Sweden's application for NATO membership.
"If you allow such actions, then do not be offended, but you will not receive support from us on the issue of joining NATO. The Swedish leadership should not expect our support," Erdogan said in a speech after the cabinet.
Haavisto, when asked whether Finland should move as quickly as Sweden in seeking clearance for the proposal, told Finnish radio YLE that while simultaneous NATO accession would be ideal "from the standpoint of both countries' security," it remained that "we have to be ready to re-evaluate the situation."
The FM also said, "Has something happened that would in the long run prevent Sweden's application from progressing? Now it is too early to take a view on that."
Read more: Ankara to hold Quran reverence outside Turkish embassy in Stockholm