Croatia joins Turkey in blocking Finland, Sweden NATO bids

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


Croatia has joined Turkey in objecting to NATO membership bids from Finland and Sweden, using the vote as a means to push their country’s interests.

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic has called for his country’s NATO representative to block the memberships of the two Nordic countries until Bosnia and Herzegovina’s electoral law is changed – a move that would make it easier for Bosnian Croats to get their representatives elected to leadership positions. Milanovic said that Croats in Bosnia are “being destroyed” as a political entity.

“That is not an act against Finland and Sweden but it is for Croatia,” Milanović said Wednesday, according to a EuroWeekly report. He also held Turkey up as a model for fighting for national interests. 

“Turkey certainly will not move away from the table before it gets what it wants,” Milanović said.

Turkish President Recep Erdoğan has blocked NATO’s May 18 decision to process requests by Finland and Sweden to join the alliance until its security demands are met. Those include lifting certain arms embargoes and the extradition of PKK members, a Kurdish militant political organization Erdoğan considers to be a terrorist group. Turkey’s stance has hampered the application process that had been expected to garner quick approval among the 30-nation bloc. 

“We have told our relevant friends we would say ‘no’ to Finland and Sweden’s entry into NATO, and we will continue on our path like this,” Erdoğan said in a video aired Thursday in Turkey.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg have downplayed any risk posed by Turkey to rapid accession for Finland and Sweden. Both have said that Turkey’s objections can be overcome through dialogue, according to a Politico report

Russian Senator Viktor Bondarev has announced that Moscow is ready to deploy more forces to its side of the Russian-Finnish border if Finland enters the NATO alliance, AP reports.