Why Is Turkey Against Finland And Sweden Joining Nato

Why is Turkey against Finland and Sweden Joining NATO?

Why is Turkey against Finland and Sweden Joining NATO?

Turkey has been a longstanding member of NATO since 1952 and has always played a significant role in the alliance. However, its stance on Finland and Sweden’s potential membership has been met with mixed reactions. To understand Turkey’s position, it is crucial to delve into the background, analyze relevant data, and consider the perspectives of experts.


Historically, Turkey has sought to maintain a delicate balance in its relations with Russia. Geopolitically, Finland and Sweden share a border with Russia and have sought closer cooperation with NATO in recent years. This has fueled Turkey’s concerns over potential Russian retaliation. Turkey fears that an expanded NATO presence near its borders could spark tensions and escalate the already fragile regional situation.

Another aspect to consider is Turkey’s complicated relationship with the European Union (EU). Turkey’s long-standing aspiration for EU membership has faced numerous obstacles and has become a contentious issue. Finland and Sweden are both EU member states, and Turkey may view their potential NATO membership as further integration into the EU, which could complicate matters for Turkey and hinder its EU aspirations.

Relevant Data

The Turkish government has consistently expressed its reservations regarding Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership. According to a survey conducted by the German Marshall Fund in 2019, around 57% of Turks had unfavorable views of Finland and Sweden joining NATO, primarily due to concerns about Russia’s response and the implications for Turkey’s security.

Furthermore, Turkey’s close economic ties with Russia play a role in its stance. Turkey is heavily dependent on Russian energy imports, particularly natural gas. A potential NATO expansion could jeopardize these economic relations, leading Turkey to prioritize its economic interests and maintain a cautious approach to new NATO members.

Perspectives from Experts

Experts have offered diverging opinions on Turkey’s position regarding Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership. Some argue that Turkey’s concerns are valid, given its delicate geopolitical situation and the importance of maintaining regional stability. They highlight the potential risks associated with expanding NATO’s reach further into Russia’s neighborhood.

Others criticize Turkey’s stance, claiming that it reflects a reluctance to commit fully to NATO’s collective defense principles. They argue that Turkey should prioritize the alliance’s unity and shared values over potential geopolitical tensions with Russia, as NATO exists to defend its members against any external threats.

Insights and Analysis

While Turkey’s resistance to Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership may seem controversial to some, it is essential to recognize the complexity of the geopolitical dynamics at play. Turkey’s concerns about regional stability and maintaining a balance between NATO interests and its relationship with Russia are valid considerations.

Furthermore, Turkey perceives potential NATO engagements near its borders as an impediment to its long-desired EU membership. This viewpoint highlights the interconnectedness of Turkey’s interests and the multifaceted nature of its foreign policy decisions.

Additional Perspectives

NATO’s Role and Expansion

NATO’s primary objectives have evolved since its establishment, and its expansion has always been a contentious issue. Critics argue that expanding NATO too far might strain the alliance’s resources and dilute its focus. They emphasize the importance of carefully considering the potential consequences before admitting new members.

The Russian Factor

One cannot ignore Russia’s response when discussing NATO’s expansion. Russia has continuously expressed concerns about NATO encroachment on its borders, leading to increased tensions. Turkey’s apprehension regarding Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership aligns with these concerns and serves as a reflection of the wider regional dynamics.

The Changing Security Environment

With evolving security threats, particularly in cyberspace and hybrid warfare, NATO faces numerous challenges in adapting to the changing security environment. Some argue that instead of expanding geographically, NATO should prioritize supporting its existing members and enhancing capabilities to address emerging threats effectively.

The Importance of Dialogue

Constructive dialogue and engagement remain vital in addressing the concerns of all parties involved. It is crucial for NATO, Turkey, and potential new members like Finland and Sweden to engage in continuous dialogue to understand each other’s perspectives and find common ground that ensures both regional stability and the alliance’s integrity.

Solomon Weissman

Solomon C. Weissman is a historian, writer, and traveler who has focused his work on the history, culture, and people of Finland. He has traveled extensively throughout Finland and has written numerous articles and books about its fascinating history. He is dedicated to educating others about the unique culture of Finland and is committed to preserving its rich heritage for future generations.

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