Ankara's objections to Sweden, Finland's NATO membership "resolved" – Lithuanian defmin

  • 2022-05-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Ankara's objections to Finland and Sweden's NATO membership can be resolved, Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas says.

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey did not have a "positive opinion" on Finland and Sweden joining NATO due to their alleged ties with Kurdish organizations, but later said his country was open to discussions on this issue.

"The objections Turkey voiced have nothing to do with the membership of these countries, they have to do with Turkey's wishes it would like to resolve with these countries on a bilateral basis," the ministers told reporters on Monday. "Until the formal admission of Sweden and Finland, I think these things can certainly be discussed and negotiated."

The Finnish and Swedish parliaments on Monday began debating both countries' plans to join NATO. The two countries plan to submit their applications to join the Alliance as early as this week.

The historic move was prompted by Russia's war in Ukraine, launched in late February.

Finland formally announced its intention to join NATO on Sunday, while Sweden's ruling party earlier also announced its support for NATO membership, so both countries are likely submit their applications together.

Anusauskas does not expect more countries to object to Finland and Sweden's NATO membership as "it has many political consequences".

"Countries are not inclined to misuse such things", the Lithuanian defense minister said.

Moscow has warned Finland and Sweden numerous times that their ambition to join NATO will have consequences.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said last weekend the bloc would consider providing security guarantees to Finland and Sweden during the transition period between the application and their full membership.

The Scandinavian countries' NATO membership is particularly important for the Baltic countries as it would reduce the vulnerability of the Baltic countries because of the so-called Suwalki Corridor, as it would provide allies with more opportunities to send troops to Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia.