Estonian parlt panel chair: Without Sweden, defense of Nordic-Baltic region not complete

  • 2023-10-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The head of the national defense committee of the parliament of Estonia, Kalev Stoicescu, said at a meeting with Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler on Wednesday that Estonia and Turkey are both members of the world's strongest alliance, but without Sweden, NATO's collective defense of the Nordic-Baltic region is not complete.

He said that the greatest security task for Estonia and all of NATO is to continue to stand against the Russian threat and support Ukraine, but also to fight terrorism.

"As frontline guards, together with the Nordic and the Baltic countries, we face hybrid attacks. We have to take very seriously the recent incidents with the Balticconnector and submarine fibre-optic cables, as well as the text message bomb threats to schools in Estonia, but also in Latvia and Lithuania. NATO's collective defense must cover the entire Baltic Sea, including underwater infrastructure," the head of the Riigikogu committee said.

Stoicescu expressed the hope that the defense cooperation between the countries within NATO will be further strengthened.

"Collective defense in the Nordic-Baltic region is not complete without Sweden. We hope that Sweden's accession to NATO will become a reality in the near future," the Estonian MP said.

He noted that Estonia invests significantly more than 3 percent of its GDP in national defense, and that today's contracts with Turkish companies will increase Estonia's defense capabilities.

The Turkish minister of defense said that the relations between Estonia and Turkey are built on long-term respect and cooperation, the vitality of which is evidenced by the fact that, in January 2024, the two countries can celebrate the 100th anniversary of the recognition of the independence of Estonia by Turkey. Just like the fact that Estonia makes a large purchase of defense equipment from Turkish companies. The minister of defense of Turkey confirmed that Turkey always respects all NATO obligations and has supported Ukraine since the beginning of the war, and this support will continue in the future.

Estonia is buying a large number of wheeled armored vehicles from Turkey for 200 million euros to equip its 2nd Infantry Brigade. The first of the vehicles will be delivered in 2024.