Finland and Sweden's NATO accession is stuck behind opposition from Turkey. Even though President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is dead-set on opposing the countries joining NATO, Estonian Ambassador to NATO Jüri Luik believes the accession protocols will soon be approved.
NATO headquarters in Brussels and allied capitals have pursued frantic Turkey diplomacy in recent days. Ankara directly opposes Finland and Sweden joining the alliance, while this is unacceptable for other members. Turkey has taken issue with the two Scandinavian states' stance on the Kurdish resistance and weapons embargos, for example, concerning American F-35 fighter jets.
"Therefore, the issues are not new, while Turkey sees a good chance to raise them again and bring all concerned parties behind the negotiating table," Luik said.
Heads of state have said in their comments that they believe Turkey will accommodate Finland and Sweden eventually. But Erdogan was frank on Thursday.
"Turkey has made one such mistake in the past concerning Greece's accession. This will not happen again. That is why our policy will remain steadfast. We have told allies that we will say "no" to Finland and Sweden joining the alliance," Erdogan said.
Turkey has blocked NATO activities in the past. For example, regarding new Baltic defense plans, while it did soften its stance after a while. It is now believed that the same could happen should Finland and Sweden make concessions.
"Yes, they have raised the stakes quite high, but the consensus here in Brussels is that calm diplomatic talks, with the participation of the NATO secretary general, the U.S. president and heads of other influential NATO members, will result in these concerns being addressed and Finland and Sweden's accession protocols signed," Luik explained.
The last deadline for solving differences could be the NATO summit in June.
Editor: Marcus Turovski