A planned visit to Turkey by Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson will no longer occur today, increasing tensions amid Sweden’s
A planned visit to Turkey by Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson will no longer occur today, increasing tensions amid Sweden’s bid for NATO membership.
The cancellation stems from Turkey’s anger about the Swedish response to Kurdish demonstrations that took place in Stockholm. These tensions have complicated prospects of Sweden and Finland joining NATO together, even though the three countries reached a consensus at the 2022 Madrid Summit. Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan has delayed accession talks indefinitely and warned that Sweden should not expect Turkish support for its membership bid.
Finnish diplomat Pekka Haavistro hinted at the possibility of Finland joining without Sweden, but later backtracked after speaking with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who wants the nations to join simultaneously. Though it’s possible that Finland will lose patience with the process, it will only consider a different avenue if Turkey permanently blocks Sweden’s membership bid.
Analysts believe that Turkey’s government is taking a harder stance against Sweden’s support ahead of its election in May. The accession process will likely remain stalled until after the election, and even afterwards, discussions will likely progress slowly as Sweden finds it impossible to abide by some of Turkey’s demands in the Madrid agreement.