Finland and Sweden agreed to join NATO at the same time, their prime ministers said after talks in Helsinki on Friday, as the two countries await final approval from Turkey.
“For us it’s very important that Finland and Sweden will join NATO simultaneously,” said Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin alongside her new Swedish counterpart, Ulf Kristersson, who took office earlier this month.
Hungary and Turkey are the only countries yet to ratify Finland and Sweden’s accession to the security alliance, a process that kicked off following Russia’s war on Ukraine.
While Budapest has said it should formally approve the bids by the end of the year, Turkey is yet to move. In June, Turkey, Finland and Sweden signed a deal aimed at resolving Turkish concerns centered around both countries’ alleged support for Kurdish organizations.
Marin said Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told her during a recent summit of leaders in Prague that there were still some outstanding questions for Sweden, but insisted that the Finnish government would not confirm its own NATO membership first.
“It’s very important that we are working together and both countries are making sure that Turkey can ratify our membership as soon as possible,” said Marin.
Swedish outlet Aftonbladet has reported that Kristersson is poised to meet Erdoğan on November 8 in Ankara with the aim of resolving the outstanding opposition.
Speaking in Helsinki on Friday, the Swedish leader said that Turkish concerns were “perfectly legitimate” and wouldn’t give a fixed timeline for securing Ankara’s support.
“Of course, Sweden and Finland want as soon a ratification as possible,” Kristersson said, adding that he was ready to travel to Turkey. “We have been taking every step hand-in-hand and none of us have any other ambition.”