Finland’s top diplomat hints at joining NATO without Sweden

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Sweden again not to expect support for its application following weekend protests in Stockholm by an anti-Islam activist and pro-Kurdish groups.

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World News

January 24, 2023 - 5:04 PM

The patch of a Swedish Amphibious Battalion soldier is shown during the Baltic Operations NATO military drills (Baltops 22) on June 11, 2022, in the Stockholm archipelago, the 30,000 islands, islets and rocks off Sweden's eastern coastline. (Jonas Gratzer/Getty Images/TNS)

HELSINKI (AP) — Finland’s foreign minister suggested Tuesday that the country may consider joining NATO without neighboring Sweden if Turkey continues to block their joint bid to enter the military alliance.

Pekka Haavisto later backpedaled, but his comments were the first time a leading government official in either Nordic country appeared to raise doubts about becoming NATO members together at a time when the alliance is seeking to present a united front in the face of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Sweden and Finland rushed to apply for NATO membership following Moscow’s invasion, abandoning their long-standing non-alignment policy. Their accession needs the approval of all existing NATO members, including Turkey, which has so far blocked the expansion, saying Sweden in particular needs to crack down on exiled Kurdish militants and their sympathizers.

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