Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (Greens) spoke to reporters in Helsinki on Monday, 30 January 2023. Haavisto reminded that Finland and Sweden joining Nato at the same time is important for both the military alliance’s defence plan and security in the Baltic Sea. (Antti Hämäläinen – Lehtikuva)


FINLAND has the patience to wait for its accession to Nato in part due to the security guarantees it received from several countries at the beginning of what has become an almost nine-month process, says Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (Greens).

“We still hope that we’ll be members by the summit in Vilnius [Lithuania in July], even though we can’t influence decision-making in Hungary or Turkey,” he stated to reporters in Helsinki on Monday.

Attitudes toward the Finnish membership application have “progressed” in Turkey, according to Haavisto.

Turkish media reported roughly a week ago that Turkey has discontinued its ratification negotiations with Finland and Sweden. Haavisto at the time estimated that the negotiations would likely remain on hold for a couple of weeks. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday indicated that the country might be willing to ratify the membership application of Finland, but not that of Sweden.

“I’m sure that the statement reflects the fact that we’ve made progress when it comes to the Nato process with Turkey, and that they have the readiness to evaluate the issue quickly in terms of ratifications,” analysed Haavisto.

He revealed he discussed the issue on Sunday with both Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström and Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. Çavuşoğlu, he said, confirmed that there has been discussion about the possibility of ratifying the Finnish membership bid before the parliamentary elections held in Turkey in May.

“My understanding is that the Turkish leadership has had genuine discussions about the possibility that the current parliament moves forward with the ratification. But I can’t analyse the mindset or timetable of the parliament more closely,” he told.

Haavisto reiterated to Çavuşoğlu the Finnish stance that Finland and Sweden should be accepted into the defence alliance simultaneously.

“Sweden is our closest co-operation partner in defence and security policy, and in this regard our stance hasn’t changed. Also Nato as an organisation and Nato member states have emphasised how important it’d be for the defence plan to get [both] Finland and Sweden as Nato members. The Finnish and Swedish membership processes moving forward simultaneously would strengthen the capabilities of Nato and security in the Baltic Sea and entire Nato,” he argued.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT