May 20, 2022 · less than 3 min read
The two countries have made historic bids to become members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Neutral no more
History is unfolding before our eyes. As the war wages on in Ukraine, NATO could be expanding. Both Sweden and Finland, seemingly forever having been militarily neutral, are now seeking fast-tracked membership to the international alliance.
Their application was welcomed by the NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, who hailed it “a historic step” and “a good day at a critical time for our safety.” The change of heart for the two Nordic countries is a marked display of resistance to Putin on the world stage, having defined their geopolitical identities on nonalignment for lengthy periods.
Not welcomed by all
While many have welcomed this monumental move, not everyone is happy. Multiple reports have claimed that immediate talks have been blocked by Turkey, and instead the first stage of accession may extend past the initial two weeks that was planned. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has already expressed serious reservations, demanding that the Nordic countries end their supposed support for the Kurdish Workers’ party, and lift a ban on arms exports, before accepting them.
There’s some tough diplomatic wrangling now forecast, as negotiating parties from across NATO’s member states head to Ankara to try and get Turkey to agree to the country’s accessions. How long Turkey can hold out, and what concessions it can get in return, remains to be seen.
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