Finland working to convince Turkey to resume NATO bid talks, foreign minister says

Finland’s foreign minister says he’s working to convince Turkey to resume talks to ratify his country’s bid to join the NATO alliance along with Sweden, despite stalled negotiations.

Turkey and Hungary are the only 2 NATO members yet to ratify Finland, Sweden’s  NATO applications

A man in a suit holds his eyeglasses while walking inside a building.
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto says his country would still like to join the alliance alongside its Nordic neighbour Sweden. (Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva/AFP/Getty Images)

Finland's foreign minister says he's working to convince Turkey to resume talks to ratify his country's bid to join the NATO alliance along with Sweden, despite stalled negotiations.

"We see all the advantages of both of us becoming members," Pekka Haavisto told CBC News Network's Rosemary Barton Live.

"Sooner the better."

Twenty-eight of NATO's 30 members have ratified both Sweden and Finland's requests for membership after the two Scandinavian countries submitted formal applications in May. Canada was the first to ratify the requests.

But Turkey and Hungary have yet to approve the bids to join the Western military alliance.

WATCH | Finland committed to NATO bid despite stalled talks with Turkey

Finland committed to NATO bid despite stalled talks with Turkey

2 months ago
Duration 7:56
CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton speaks with Finland's foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto, about his country's bid to join NATO alongside Sweden and its response to the war in Ukraine.

The Turkish government has said Sweden in particular needs to crack down on exiled members of Kurdish and other groups that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers terrorists.

Last month a far-right politician burned a copy of the Qur'an in Stockholm and separate pro-Kurdish demonstrations were held in the capital, further inflaming tensions. 

The Swedish government has tried to distance itself from the incident, while insisting that such protests are allowed under the country's freedom of speech.

Trilateral talks between Turkey, Finland and Sweden have now broken off. Haavisto said he continues to push his Turkish counterpart to return to the table.

"You can see how easy it is to derail a serious security process with this kind of action," Haavisto said.

"Of course we are trying to convince Turkey that it's also in their interest, that NATO would be stronger in these circumstances when we have unfortunate Russian aggression and war in Europe."

Despite the stalled negotiations, Haavisto said his country still sees benefits in joining the alliance with its Nordic neighbour.

"When we look at the security around the Baltic Sea region, we need both Finland and Sweden for improved security and we have a very strong not only history, but also bilateral military co-operation, defence co-operation and so forth,' he said.

"There's been certain conditions and we feel that we have fulfilled those conditions and Sweden has. So we are of course looking that Turkey could now advance."

Haavisto said he had been hoping to iron out the ratification before Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections this May.

"Unfortunately there is now the delay on this timetable," he said.

With files from Arielle Piat-Sauve and the Associated Press


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