President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that Turkey will ratify Finland’s membership request to NATO, stating that it is expected to be completed before elections in May.
Sweden, however, will still have to wait as Turkey continues to block their bid, citing the country’s’ policies towards Kurdish fighting and political groups that Turkey views as terrorist organizations. Sweden has long been an active partner with Kurdish forces in Syria, namely the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). In December 2021, Sweden pledged an additional $376 million in aid for 2023 for “strengthening resilience, human security and freedom from violence.”
Swedish relations with Turkey were also strained in recent months following the January burning of a Quran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm by far-right protesters. Turkey condemned the protest, which was allowed by the Swedish government and in response, meetings between the two countries were canceled as Turkey called the burning “completely unacceptable.”
Although Finland has also been a long time partner with the Kurds and has looked to increase relations and business investments in the greater Erbil area, policy negotiations with Turkey have led to significant progress in their pursuit to join NATO.