Finland Ready to Join NATO without Sweden, Sources Claim

Finland Ready to Join NATO without Sweden, Sources Claim

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Despite the fact that only last week, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin gave the reassurance that Finland intends to enter NATO with Sweden, high-placed sources have revealed that all Finnish parties, bar one, are ready for their country to proceed alone.

Although Helsinki has indicated to the outside world that it continues to regard NATO membership as a common cause between Finland and Sweden, behind the scenes, attitudes might be quite different, Sputnik reported.

Finland is ready to join NATO without Sweden in the event that Turkey and/or Hungary ratify only Finland's NATO application, the nation's media have reported, citing several high-placed sources.

"We have to admit the facts: we are Russia's neighbor. Sweden's geopolitical position is completely different from ours," one of the sources was quoted as saying.

The sources said that the Finnish negotiators had already reached an agreement with Turkey before Christmas, and that the matter is thus in principle settled for Finland. Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has allegedly been informed of this.

According to the sources, only the Left Alliance party opposes Finland's joining NATO without Sweden, whereas the rest are prepared to make the move.

This stands in stark contrast with the official rhetoric: only last week, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin repeated during her visit to Stockholm that Finland intends to complete its NATO journey the way it started - together with Sweden.

However, the Finnish public begged to differ, as a recent survey by pollster Taloustutkimus indicated that 53 percent of respondents were ready for their country to join NATO alone. By contrast, almost half that amount - 28 percent - said Finland should wait for Sweden.

Turkey, however, said it hadn't received signals from Finland about its readiness to join NATO without Sweden, but added it would consider this should such an application emerge.

In May 2022, Sweden and Finland abandoned their time-trusted policy of non-alignment and filed a joint NATO bid as neighbors. However, Sweden’s bid face staunch opposition from Turkey after a series of high-profile scandals and provocations, which included Turkish President Recep Erdogan being hung in effigy and several Quran-burnings in front of the Turkish Embassy.

Last week, Erdogan said Turkey wouldn’t accept Sweden as a NATO member as long as Qurans are allowed to be burnt in the country. Finland, by contrast, prohibits violations of religious peace, and was offered a quick path to the alliance.

However, discontent is simmering in Finland. On Monday afternoon, a demonstration was held in the Finnish city of Oulu, where participants waved the flags of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey considers to be a terrorist organization, and a doll representing Turkish leader Erdogan was pushed around.

Earlier, a Finnish daily published an Erdogan cartoon mocking Ankara's extradition requests to the Nordic nations as a prerequisite for greenlighting their bids. In return for ushering both nations into NATO, Turkey demanded a crackdown on PKK members and others it regards as terrorists, or their sympathizers.

The extradition demands were not only a painful blow for Nordic human rights groups, but also sparked a backlash from the opposition, accusing their governments of going too far in trying to satisfy Turkey.

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