Finland contacts Turkey after Erdogan’s remarks on possible NATO veto for Sweden

Sauli Niinisto, president de Finland – Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva/dpa

The Finnish authorities «immediately» contacted the Turkish authorities on Sunday after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the door to separating the Finnish and Swedish bids in the NATO enlargement process.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto confirmed these contacts on Monday in statements to the newspaper ‘Helsingin Sanomat’. According to Niinisto, it has been agreed to hold further talks both at the level of the Presidency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Niinisto has furthermore spoken with the NATO secretary general, «about the current situation regarding applications for integration». «Close contacts continue,» the president said on his official Twitter account.

Erdogan opened the door to respond «differently» to Finland’s request to join the Atlantic Alliance, after he has spoken out against Sweden’s aspirations in the last week. Both Nordic countries submitted their candidacy jointly and aspired to join at the same time, in record time.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also alluded to a possible division of the candidatures on Monday, calling for the «concerns» of his government to be taken into account, according to statements reported by the Haberturk television channel.

«If this measure is taken, we hope to be able to consider them independently. I think it would be fair to divide these countries into the most and least problematic, but our aim is not really to separate them. Our position is based on objective analyses of how these requirements are met,» he said.