HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finland’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that Finland and Sweden’s requests to join the NATO military alliance with Turkey would require a timeout of several weeks.
Turkey’s president said on Monday that Sweden should not expect help from his country after protests over the weekend, including the burning of a copy of the Quran near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
“We need a time-out before we can go back to the trilateral talks and review the situation once the current situation has calmed down, so we can’t come to any conclusions yet,” Foreign Minister Pekka Harvist told Reuters in a telephone interview. . .
“I think we’ll have a few weeks break.”
Sweden and Finland applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization last year after Russia invaded Ukraine, but they need support from all current NATO members to proceed.
But Turkey says Sweden in particular must take a clearer stance against what the Turkish government sees as terrorists. Primarily Kurdish extremists, the group responsible for the failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced Monday that presidential and parliamentary elections will be moved up a month to May 14.
Haavisto said he met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday.
“Of course, they are feeling the pressure from the elections scheduled for mid-May, so understandably the debate is heating up in many ways in Turkey.
Finland and Sweden have repeatedly announced plans to join the alliance simultaneously, and Haavist said there was no reason to consider whether Finland would join alone.
Reported by Essi Lehto. Editing by Terje Solsvik, Andrew Heavens and Kevin Liffey
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