On 15 May, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin hosted a joint press conference, confirming that once the Parliament approves the request for entering NATO, its government will officially apply to enter the organisation. And two days later, on 17 May, the Parliament passed the motion with an absolute majority, 188 votes supported the entry, whilst only 8 were against it. Its neighbour Sweden, has already made an official request to join on 16 May.
The Finnish President had already notified Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, of his decision to join NATO and thereby abandoning its doctrine of neutrality. Putin responded with the same stance as before, saying abandoning neutrality will be a huge mistake, and to prepare for immediate consequences.
Finland has had difficult relations with Russia. After securing independence in the early 20th century, it fought Russia, then the Soviet Union, in two separate wars. Both ended with high casualties and territorial losses. Since then, Finland has followed a policy of neutrality, labelled “finlandisation”, the process saw Helsinki adopting a pro-Soviet stance, at the same time refusing Western aid and cooperation. With the Soviet collapse in 1991, Finland then slowly opened up to the West.
The Finnish authority is preparing for the possibility of Russia cutting off gas supplies. The Kremlin has already demanded “unfriendly” pay for gases in rubles. When Poland and Bulgaria refused, it halts their gas supply. Most of Finland’s energy came from Russia, the authority is currently seeking alternatives and Western aid in case such an emergency happens.
Not only did Russia oppose the potential alliance, but earlier on Monday, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the country would vote against Finland and Sweden’s entry request. Turkey has accused Stockholm of harbouring terrorists, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a Kurdish group supporting militants and campaign against Turkey’s rule. Sweden has denied the extradition request, whilst Turkey protested strongly.
The Mediterranean state has tried to maintain non-aligned over European politics. Constantly striving for a balance between the EU and the East, Turkey attempted to follow Western rhetoric of condemnation of Russian aggression, though at the same time maintaining good economic relations with Russia. Previously, Turkey has already been condemned for its pro-Russian sentiment, as it purchased Russian weaponry, despite the warning from its liberal European allies.
The secretary-general of NATO Jens Stoltenberg has supported their entries. In light of Turkey’s resistance, the Norwegian politician understands its concern might not be the prospect of their membership, but their concern remains with exiled-Kurdish activists. He believes NATO could resolve the concern of Turkey and it will not stall the process of entering NATO. Nonetheless, other NATO states have publicly supported the two possible entries. The UK has already signed a mutual defence pact with Sweden, allowing both states to use their military to aid the others' security struggles. With mounting pressure from Western allies, the effect of Turkey’s opposition is insufficient to turn the tide.
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in