Can Turkey veto Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership?

The Turkish President accuses the two Nordic countries of harboring members of terrorist organizations

Turkey’s president announced the country’s opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO just hours after the two Nordic nations said they would seek membership.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said countries should not bother sending delegations to persuade Turkey, a key NATO member, of their bids.

Register to our NationalWorld Today Newsletter

He is angered by what he sees as their willingness to host Kurdish militants.

NATO members Norway, Denmark and Iceland have all agreed to support Sweden and Finland, while the UK has already provided both countries with security guarantees during the transition period.

What did the Turkish President say?

At a press conference on Monday (May 16), Mr Erdogan said Turkey was opposed to Finnish and Swedish bids to join NATO.

He described Sweden as a “hotbed” for terrorist organizations.

The Turkish President said: “None of these countries have a clear, open stance towards terrorist organizations.

“How can we trust them?”

Turkey accuses the two Nordic nations of harboring members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group it considers a terrorist organization, as well as supporters of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish businessman, scholar and preacher whom Ankara accuses of staged a 2016 to have attempted coup.

In 2016, a coup attempt was attempted in Turkey against state institutions, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The government said the coup plotters were linked to the Gülen movement, classified by Turkey as a terrorist organization and led by Fethullah Gülen.

Can Turkey veto Finland and Sweden’s NATO bid?

In order for Finland and Sweden to join NATO, all 30 existing members must say yes, and therefore Sweden and Finland need Turkey’s support in their quest to join the military alliance.

President Erdogan has pledged to block applications from countries that have imposed sanctions on him.

Sweden suspended arms sales to Turkey in 2019 after Ankara’s military operation in Syria.

What did Finland and Sweden say?

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said he was surprised by Turkey’s stance but added that his government was not interested in “negotiations” with Mr Erdogan.

Meanwhile, Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announced the country’s decision to join NATO on Monday.

She said: “NATO will strengthen Sweden, Sweden will strengthen NATO.

“We are leaving one era behind and entering a new one.”

She said Europe is now living in a dangerous new reality and a formal application could be submitted within days, synchronized with Finland.

NATO has signaled its willingness to accept the two new members.

However, Ms Andersson stressed that Sweden does not want permanent NATO bases or nuclear weapons on its territory.

Which countries support the move?

Norway, Denmark and Iceland, all NATO members, immediately declared that they were ready to provide any means necessary to support Sweden and Finland if attacked.

The UK has already given Sweden and Finland security guarantees for the transition period.

Monday’s Swedish announcement came as NATO began one of its largest exercises in the Baltics, dubbed “Hedgehog,” involving around 15,000 troops.

Ten countries are involved in the exercises in Estonia, including Finland and Sweden. Can Turkey veto Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership?


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

Related Articles

Back to top button