“Time-out” is needed in trilateral talks on Turkish backing for Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bid, Finland’s foreign minister Pekka Haavisto told Reuters on Tuesday.
When Swedish police gave permission to a far-right activist to burn a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm in protest, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan retaliated by warning Sweden not to expect Turkey’s support for its NATO membership bid.
Pekka Haavisto, Finland’s foreign minister said that there must be a break for a couple of weeks on their trilateral negotiations with Sweden and Turkey.
“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,” Haavisto told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Haavisto also spoke to Finnish YLE on Tuesday and said that Finland could consider joining the transatlantic military alliance without long-time ally Sweden. “We have to be ready to re-evaluate the situation,” he said.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 led Sweden and Finland to make applications to join NATO over increased security concerns. Turkey used its power of VETO to block the membership bids, but offered to move aside if the Nordic countries first met a number of requirements.
At a NATO summit held in the Spanish capital Madrid on 28 June, Finland and Sweden agreed to meet a list of demands made by Turkey, in a trilateral memorandum, including the extradition of Kurdish groups from the two Scandinavian countries.