It is now official. After several days of uncertainty and strong pressure from Russia, Finland and Sweden finally submitted their NATO membership applications on Wednesday. "This is a historic moment at a critical time for our security," said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who received membership applications submitted by ambassadors from two countries. “We hope to quickly conclude the process. (…) The security interests of all allies must be taken into account and we are determined to examine all issues and reach conclusions quickly,” he added.
This announcement comes as consultations are underway between the Allies to lift Turkey's opposition to the integration of the two Nordic countries into the Alliance. Ankara could in particular slow down the accession process by refusing to open discussions within the Atlantic Council, the first stage of the procedure. Turkey can then block by refusing to sign the accession protocols and finally refuse to ratify the accession.
The unanimity of the 30 members of the Alliance is imperative for membership. "Anything is possible," said a European diplomat. "But at NATO we always find solutions," he added. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may want to bring the subject to the NATO summit organized in Madrid on June 29 and 30. Ankara "will not give in", he assured Monday.
To justify its reluctance to integrate the two Nordic countries into NATO, Turkey notably accuses Sweden of being "the nursery of terrorist organizations" such as the Kurdish PKK and criticizes the two nations for not approving extradition requests. of people accused of being terrorists and of having frozen arms exports to Turkey. Earlier this week, Ankara blocked a statement from NATO in favor of the accessions of the two countries, according to a diplomatic source at AFP.