Finland calls for “time-out” amid NATO membership discussions with Turkey

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in May 2022, Finland and Sweden have made known their ambition to join NATO simultaneously.

After a series of events between Turkey and Sweden sparked new tensions and hostility, Finland is requesting a “time-out” in negotiations with Turkey on the membership of Finland and Sweden to NATO.

In an interview with Reuters that was published on Tuesday, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said,  “I think there will be a break for a couple of weeks.” 

“A time-out is needed before we return to the three-way talks and see where we are when the dust has settled after the current situation, so no conclusions should be drawn yet..”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, said on Monday that Sweden shouldn’t count on his nation’s backing for its application to NATO after it permitted a far-right rally and the burning of the Quran to take place in Stockholm in front of the Turkish embassy.

Erdogan stated that those who permit such blasphemy to occur in front of the embassy can no longer count on the country’s backing for their NATO membership.

Rasmus Paludan, the head of the Danish far-right political party Hard Line, was responsible for ordering the burning of the Quran, the sacred book of Islam.

 The protest, according to Swedish officials, was allowed under the country’s free speech regulations, but the act was denounced as “appalling” by Sweden’s leaders.

Muslims protested in front of the Swedish embassy in Istanbul after the Islamophobic display sparked outrage and criticism from a number of Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Kuwait.

Since May 2022, Finland and Sweden have made it known that they intend to join NATO simultaneously, abandoning their long-standing non-alignment policy in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The 30 present members of the 73-year-old alliance must unanimously approve the admission of a new member; Turkey is the member who is most vocally opposed to the new membership.

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