After formally starting the process a year ago, Finland finally got the go-ahead from Turkey to join NATO. This military organization, founded in 1949 and led by the United States, had the main purpose of stopping the expansion of the Soviet Union and its fundamental principle is that if a member is attacked, all other members have the obligation to help counter that external aggression.
The NATO admission process requires each of its members to approve the entry of an applicant. In this case, Turkey, which has been a member of NATO since 1952, was really the only one that resisted approving the entry of Sweden and Finland.
Erdogan's government argues that both Nordic countries have harbored Kurdish activists and militants fighting against Ankara's central government seeking more autonomy. Turkey considers these activities to be terrorist and has therefore long demanded their deportation for prosecution on Turkish soil.
Erdogan's government has always said it is willing to negotiate, insisting that "Finland has been more cooperative than Sweden on this matter."
At the same time, both Sweden and Finland have made it clear that their foreign security policy is joint, and that neither will agree to join NATO if the other is permanently out.
This week, Turkey's parliament has given the go-ahead to Finland, but left Sweden's application pending. The cause of this differentiation is due to three important points:
• Turkey demands that Sweden deport a hundred Kurds that Ankara accuses of being "terrorists", while Finland only a handful.
• Sweden has much more extensively funded Kurdish militias than Finland in eastern Turkey fighting for independence and/or more autonomy.
• Sweden allows far-right politicians to burn the Qur'an in public as Swedish law does not penalize blasphemy in any way. Whereas Finland does not allow the burning of any object in public places and protects the right "to practice religion without disturbance".
For Sweden, the negotiations with Turkey remain very complicated. But it seems that the United States is putting a lot of pressure on Erdogan by offering to lift the veto on selling him the F-16 jets that have been in place since 2019 for the Turkish invasion of Syria to persecute Kurdish militias, in exchange for accepting Sweden into NATO.