Finnish and Swedish PMs assure commitment to join NATO together

Sweden and Finland launched their bids to join NATO in May in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine but ran into objections from Turkey.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson pose after signing a document during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, June 28, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/VIOLETA SANTOS MOURA/FILE PHOTO)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson pose after signing a document during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, June 28, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/VIOLETA SANTOS MOURA/FILE PHOTO)

Finland and Sweden will joint NATO at the same time, their prime ministers said on Friday, presenting a united front to Turkey, which has raised questions about both their applications.

The Nordic neighbors asked to join the alliance in May in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine but ran into objections from Turkey which accused the two of harboring groups it deems terrorists.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Friday that Turkey's president had told her he had more questions for Sweden than for her country. But she said she would not leave Sweden behind in the process.

"It is very important for us, of course, that Finland and Sweden would join NATO hand in hand," Marin told reporters at a joint press conference in Helsinki with her Swedish counterpart.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said as recently as Oct. 6 that his country still opposed Sweden's bid.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Sweden's Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist and Finland's Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen pose for a picture ahead of a trilateral meeting at the end of the second day of a NATO Council Defense Ministers at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels. (credit: STEPHANIE LECOCQ/POOL VIA REUTERS)US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Sweden's Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist and Finland's Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen pose for a picture ahead of a trilateral meeting at the end of the second day of a NATO Council Defense Ministers at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels. (credit: STEPHANIE LECOCQ/POOL VIA REUTERS)

“We have been taking every step, so far, hand in hand and none of us have any other ambition.”

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, who took office last week, said: "We have been taking every step, so far, hand in hand and none of us have any other ambition."

He said he would meet Erdogan soon. "It's completely legitimate that Turkey gets confirmation that Sweden is doing what Sweden has committed to do within the framework of the agreement," he added.

Bilateral meeting set for Nov. 8

Swedish daily Aftonbladet on Friday cited sources saying that Turkey had invited Kristersson to a bilateral meeting in Ankara, probably on Nov. 8.

Kristersson's spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.