If Turkey opposes the admission of Finland and Sweden to NATO, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan indicated Friday he would do, his country would deliver a massive win to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Thursday, Finland expressed its intention to rapidly apply for NATO membership, and Sweden is expected to decide soon whether it will do the same. Erdoğan told reporters in Istanbul Friday that he has been following those developments but added that “we don’t hold positive views” on them, according to Reuters.
Turkey is one of NATO’s 30 member states, and every member has to back the admission of a new member for an application to be approved. Erdoğan’s opposition to Finland and Sweden entering the military alliance would therefore derail any attempts by the two Nordic countries to join. That would be a major victory for Russia’s president, who has strongly objected to NATO expansion and this week vowed to take “retaliatory steps” after Finland’s leadership announced plans to apply.