Finland commits to ensuring Turkish security if NATO bid successful
‘We take terrorism seriously. We condemn terrorism in all its forms,’ says Finnish President Sauli Niinisto
Prospective NATO member Finland committed on Thursday to ensuring Turkiye’s security if its bid to join the transatlantic alliance is successful.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto acknowledged Ankara’s concerns about his nation’s membership bid but maintained that joining NATO would ensure both nations commit to their mutual security.
“Finland has always had proud and good bilateral relations to Turkey. As NATO allies, we will commit to Turkey’s security, just as Turkey will commit to our security,” Niinisto said at the White House where he was hosted by US President Joe Biden alongside Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
“We take terrorism seriously. We condemn terrorism in all its forms and we are actively engaged in combating it. We are open to discussing all the concerns Turkey may have concerning our membership in an open and constructive manner,” he added.
Turkiye, a longstanding NATO member, has voiced objections to Finland and Sweden joining the alliance, criticizing them for tolerating and even supporting terror groups, including the PKK/YPG.
The Turkish government maintains that in the last five years, Helsinki and Stockholm have failed to agree to Ankara’s requests for the extradition of dozens of terrorists, including members of the PKK and FETO, the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkiye.
Andersson said her government is “right now having a dialogue with all NATO member countries, including Turkey, on different levels to sort out any issues at hand.”
Amid the ongoing diplomacy, Biden said the nations have Washington’s “full, total, complete backing” for NATO entry, and said his administration is submitting reports on their ascension to Congress ahead of a Senate’s vote on their membership.
The US president said he expects the Senate to “efficiently and quickly move on advising and consenting to the” matter “once perspectives of all allies are addressed, and NATO adopts the accession protocols.”
“The bottom line is simple, quite straightforward, Finland and Sweden make NATO stronger, not just because of the capacities, but their strong, strong democracies,” he said.
Senior representatives from Finland and Sweden are set to visit Ankara in the coming days to discuss their accession process, which requires unanimous approval from all 30 NATO member states.