US to persuade Turkey to vote for Finland and Sweden joining NATO
Finland and Sweden are confident that the US will persuade Turkey to accept their bids to join NATO after the Quran-burning incident.
In an attempt to persuade Turkey to vote in favor of Finland and Sweden, US Secretary Antony Blinken is currently visiting Turkey to send a "clear message", according to Finland's Foreign Minister.
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said he is confident that the United States would be able to facilitate Sweden and Finland's admission to NATO. "The sooner the better ratification for both Finland and Sweden should happen to NATO," he said upon his arrival at the EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.
Finland and Sweden handed in their bids to join the US-led military alliance NATO shortly after the war in Ukraine started. Both countries were promised expedited membership. What was supposed to be a quick entry into the alliance, turned into a rough patch.
Read more: Finland, Sweden officially apply to join NATO
The applying countries' accession process came to a standstill in January 2023 after the Quran-burning incident in Sweden. Turkey reacted with fury to a decision by the Swedish police to allow a protest at which a far-right extremist burned a copy of the Holy Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.
It is worth noting that accepting a state's application requires unanimous consent from all NATO members. As such, Turkey itself can hinder the entire entry process.
On January 23, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "If you allow such actions [burning the Holy Quran], 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." Turkey had earlier discussed a list of conditions with the nordic countries in return to gain its vote, including cooperation on matters related to the Nordic countries' support for the PKK, which Ankara says is a terror organization.
One request vs. a long list of conditions— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) June 28, 2022
While #Turkey had a long list of conditions from #Finland and #Sweden, all the two Nordic states wanted was to join #NATO.
Here's your guide to understanding on what basis the agreement was made. pic.twitter.com/Aw7Jtu7frp
Last week, Turkey discussed the matter with other NATO members, saying that it might consider approving Finland's application separately.
Read next: Sweden urges 'functioning dialogue' with Turkey after series of fails