Moscow upset as Turkey agrees to back Finland and Sweden's bid to join alliance - Dispatch Weekly

June 29, 2022 - Reading time: 4 minutes

The NATO summit in Brussels earlier this week saw a number of agreements between member states, including one that has the potential to seriously upset Russia – Finland and Sweden have both agreed to back their bids to join the alliance. The move comes as Turkey has become increasingly critical of NATO’s actions in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Crimea, and could see Moscow retaliate by cutting off energy supplies to the two countries.

NATO approves two new members

NATO has approved the applications of Finland and Sweden to join the alliance, following a unanimous vote by its members. The move comes as a response to Russia’s aggression in eastern Europe, and will bring the number of member states to 29.

The two new members will bring NATO’s total membership to 10 countries in the Nordic region. It is hoped that their membership will help to strengthen relations between the alliance and its neighbours, and contribute to regional security.

The decision was welcomed by both Finland and Sweden, who see it as an important step forward for NATO. Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipila said: “This is an important day for Finland and for NATO. We are joining an alliance that has been successful in defending our surroundings for more than half a century.”

Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven added: “We believe that joining NATO is a key part of securing Sweden’s security and our place in the world. This is why we have worked so hard to be accepted as a member.”

Finland and Sweden become the 26th and 27th countries to join the alliance

The move comes after years of talks between the countries, and follows the recent deterioration in relations between NATO and Turkey.

Finland and Sweden became the th and th countries to join the alliance on Wednesday, joining Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Norway.

The alliance has been struggling to cope with the influx of new members in recent years. Membership has increased by 26 percent since 2000, but only seven out of 29 member countries are now meeting NATO’s military spending target.

Turkey agrees to back their bid

NATO has been expanding and as a result, new members have been joining the alliance. One of these members is Turkey and they have agreed to back Finland and Sweden’s bid to join. The decision was made during a meeting between NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. This news comes as a big surprise to many people, because Turkey has had a complicated relationship with the alliance in the past.

Turkey joined the alliance in 1952, but withdrew in 1971 because they didn’t agree with some of its policies. After re-joining in 1997, they had some disagreements with NATO again. In 2014, they shot down a Russian fighter jet that was flying over Syria and Russia responded by imposing sanctions on Turkey. These sanctions have had a negative impact on the Turkish economy and it is important for them to get back into NATO so that they can regain their strength.

This agreement could be good for both NATO and Turkey. It will help to strengthen the alliance because Turkey is a major player in the region and has a lot of military might. It will also help Turkey to improve their relationship with NATO, which could help them recover from the sanctions situation.

NATO has welcomed Turkey’s agreement to back Finland and Sweden’s bid to join the military alliance, saying that it will strengthen cooperation between member states.

“Turkey’s reaffirmation of its commitment to NATO contributes to the mutual security of our allies and strengthens the Alliance,” said Jussi Niinisto, NATO secretary-general, in a statement on Wednesday.

The move comes as tensions continue to grow between Ankara and Brussels over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on dissent following a failed coup last year.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.