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Finland & Sweden Joining NATO Will Strengthen NATO As Western Alliance | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Finland and Sweden NATO bid faces problems with Turkey’s Erdogan

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics from Nuuk, Greenland.

Will Sweden and Finland join NATO?

Well, they have decided, Finland is in the process of a parliamentary process. Sweden took the government decision today to apply for membership of NATO. That means that they will hand in their applications within a day or two, that’s dependent upon some technical details. And then it is up to the NATO members to decide whether they will be accepted or not. It’s welcomed by most countries. The Russian reaction, so far, has been perhaps somewhat more subdued than you could expect; they have other issues to deal with at the moment. There are some problems with Mr. Erdogan in Turkey who wants to extract some concessions on completely unrelated issues. But I would hope, and I would guess, that this would be sorted out. And this will no doubt strengthen NATO as a Western alliance, a cohesive alliance, determined to do its contribution to the stability of Europe with the support also of the administration in Washington.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan holds a news conference during a NATO summit in Brussels.

REUTERS/Yves Herman

Turkey can't afford to pick fights

Turkey has thrown an eleventh-hour spanner into historic bids by Finland and Sweden to join NATO over supposed terrorist presence in the Nordic countries linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a militant group Ankara regards as a terrorist organization. On Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened to block the applications. (NATO accession requires approval from all current members of the alliance.)

Erdoğan's tirade aside, NATO's longtime bad boy is expected to ultimately back off without too big a fuss. The Turks will try to get some concessions, and bringing up the Kurds always plays well domestically, but Turkey previously told the Finns and Swedes that it wouldn’t close the door to their NATO membership.

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