Finland has defended its decision to enter into NATO without Sweden. Helsinki and Stockholm were expected to join the alliance together, but Turkey has opposed giving its approval to Sweden because of its alleged protection of Kurdish terrorists. Finnish President Sauli Niinistö defended the decision, saying that it would have been “crazy” to refuse Turkey’s ratification. However, he also affirmed his commitment to supporting Sweden in the process, although ratification ultimately lies with the Hungarian and Turkish parliaments.
Niinistö attended the announcement in Ankara by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who gave the green light to Finland’s entry. Erdogan announced the start of the ratification process by his parliament for the entry of Finland, a country that, like Sweden, broke its line of military non-alignment after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, formally requesting entry into the alliance.
The Turkish president argued that Stockholm does not comply with the demands to extradite people that Turkey considers linked to terrorist organizations, particularly from the Kurdish sphere. This led Turkey to oppose Sweden’s entry into NATO, causing a split between the two Nordic countries.
Finland’s decision to enter the alliance without Sweden was not taken lightly. The president insisted that a possible rejection of Turkey’s ratification would have created a difficult situation for his country. Finland now awaits ratification by both Turkey and Hungary, the other NATO member with a pending decision. Hungary gave its endorsement to Finland on Friday, March 17, 2023.
In conclusion, Finland’s decision to enter NATO without Sweden was primarily due to Turkey opposing Sweden’s entry because of its alleged protection of Kurdish terrorists. Despite this, the Finnish president stressed his support for Sweden and committed to working towards the entry of both Nordic countries into the alliance. Ratification ultimately lies with the Hungarian and Turkish parliaments, so Finland must wait for their approval.