There are just over 15 days left before the next NATO summit is held in Madrid, in which the path of Finland and Sweden will be marked out, although as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stated, “it has never been considered As the last term to complete the ratification upon entry” of the two countries. Stoltenberg expressed this Sunday, during a working visit in Helsinki, in a joint appearance with the country’s president, Sauli Niinistö, his confidence that the accession of Finland and Sweden will be achieved despite Turkey’s “legitimate misgivings”.
Turkey’s misgivings against such entry “must be taken seriously” and the way to overcome them is to “sit down and talk”, the NATO secretary general insisted, when asked about the possible blockade of Ankara, which accuses the Nordic countries of hosting militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). “No other NATO country has had to suffer as many terrorist attacks as Turkey,” he said, recalling the “key” role of this ally in the organizationboth in the face of conflicts such as the one in Syria and due to the reception of refugees in its territory.
The Madrid summit – June 29 and 30 – should serve to “advance” the entry of these countries, but it is not “the last date,” he said, asked about the possibilities of opting for an accelerated process in favor of the security of the aspiring countries and to strengthen the Alliance. “I am firmly convinced that its entry will revert in favor of the security of NATO as a whole“, he said, something that he also considers to prevail in the final assessment of Turkey.
While Stoltenberg pointed, again and again, to the term “legitimate”, applied to Turkish “concerns” or “fears”, the Finnish president showed his “surprise” at Ankara’s current attitude. Niinistö explained there, to questions from a Finnish media, that, until a few months ago, he had always perceived from Turkey a “favorable attitude” to your admissionbut was also determined to seek “solutions” to the dissent that had arisen.
Finland, like Sweden, have applied for membership “protected by a broad democratic consensus in his country, Niinistö said, referring to the overwhelming support for the country’s NATO membership from both public opinion and the parliamentary spectrum, as well as “my own.” Stoltenberg’s working visit to Helsinki will be followed tomorrow by the Secretary General’s meeting in Stockholm with the Swedish Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, whose country formalized its entry into NATO in parallel with Finland.
Both Nordic states, members of the EU but not of the Atlantic Alliance, turned 180 degrees on their traditional line ofe military non-alignment in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which caused a change in public opinion, until then in favor of neutrality. Finland shares nearly 1,400 kilometers of border with Russia, which responded to its formal application for membership with threats of give a “technical-military response” to what Moscow considers a danger to the stability of the region.
From NATO it is considered that the income of both countries will contribute to the security of the Alliance as a wholedespite the warnings launched by Moscow against what will be a new de facto enlargement of two countries that already maintained ties as “associated” countries, but were not full members.
Crucial appointment in Madrid
Stoltenberg, who on Thursday suspended his planned work trip to Germany at the last minute, after being diagnosed with herpes zoster, resumes work visits to Helsinki and Stockholm preparations for the NATO summit in Madrid end of this month. What at first seemed to be an easy entry, aimed at reinforcing the entire Nordic flank of the Alliance, has been complicated by Turkey’s blockade threats.
For the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hosting PKK opponents, activists or militants means protecting “terrorists”. And the entry of new members must be supported by all the countries of the transatlantic organization, which implies that it requires the approval of Ankara. In search of bridge existing gaps At the end of May, the first negotiating rounds were held in Ankara, at the level of delegations, between Sweden, Finland and Turkey. For now, no notable progress.