Finland seems closer than ever to applying for NATO membership. This Thursday, May 12, 2022, its leaders, President Sauli Niinistö and his Prime Minister Sanna Marin said they were in favor of “immediately” joining NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
Membership largely motivated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Finland wants to take precautions against the potential Russian threat since the two countries share 1,340 kilometers of borders. The Secretary General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, for his part said he was ready to welcome Sweden (which also opened the door to membership) and Finland “with open arms”. Turkey in ambush If Russia takes a very dim view of Finland’s desire to join the defensive military alliance – Moscow affirmed on Thursday May 12 that Finland’s membership of NATO would “definitely” be a threat to Russia, evoking a “military-technical” response – Turkey also questioned the position of the Finnish leaders. “We do not have a positive opinion”, declared Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this Friday, May 13, explaining that he “does not want to see the same error repeated as that committed during Greece’s accession” . “We don’t want to make a second mistake”, he insisted, also accusing Stockholm and Helsinki of serving “as a hostel for the terrorists of the PKK”, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey . READ ALSO. Russia to suspend electricity deliveries to Finland from Saturday What can Turkey really do? But is Turkey able to prevent Finland or Sweden from joining NATO? The answer is yes. To join NATO, the agreement of the thirty member states of the alliance is required. The disagreement of a single country is enough to cancel the entry of a nation within the organization. And Turkey is one of those 30 members. One of the oldest even, since it joined the Alliance in 1952. Turkey therefore has a right of veto, which it could exercise if it wishes to prevent the accession of any country to the within NATO. Discussions are however scheduled for this Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Berlin, between Finnish, Swedish and Turkish representatives after the announcement of Turkey’s hostility regarding NATO membership. Could other countries oppose the membership of Sweden and Finland? For now, Turkey is the only country to have been reluctant to see Finland and Sweden join NATO. However, in early May, the President of Croatia, a NATO member country since 2009, announced that he would oppose the accession of Nordic states, recalls the American media Bloomberg. However, he also recalled that he would have difficulty in persuading the Croatian NATO ambassador on this position. Furthermore, the Croatian Parliament should also support the admission of Finland and Sweden to the Alliance. In front of the Croatian press, this Thursday, May 12, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Grlić-Radman, wanted to clarify Croatia’s position on the subject, specifying that his country would support the Finnish and Swedish candidacies, and “will not be the only nation to challenge the principles and values of NATO, which we fought so hard to join,” reports Bloomberg. War in Ukraine. Can Turkey block Finland’s NATO membership?