The Turkish government has finally agreed to lift its veto over Swedish and Finnish bids to join NATO, resolving the longstanding hurdle in the expansion of NATO to the nordic countries.
The move comes a day after Turkey announced that it would expose the ‘hypocrisy’ of some nations harboring terrorists and that the President would do “whatever is necessary in line with the rights and interests of our country” at the NATO summit in Madrid. According to the sources, the three parties came to an agreement where Ankara would drop its veto, while Helsinki and Stockholm promised to make provisions against those perceived as terrorists by the former. A statement by the Turkish presidency mentioned that the two countries were ‘demonstrating solidarity with Turkey in the fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations’.
Sweden had been accused of providing safe havens for members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist organization by many countries, especially Turkey.
The agreement now cleared the path for Sweden and Finland, which shall soon be invited to become official members of NATO. Finland shares a 1300-kilometre-long border with Russia, and lies close to Murmansk region that hosts a majority of Russian nuclear stockpiles. This region, along with the Kola peninsula is connected to St. Petersburg via one single road and rail link (Kirov Railway), that runs close to the Finnish border. This means that if hostilities erupt between Russia and NATO, Finnish forces would be well-positioned to cut off Moscow from its large nuclear stockpiles in Murmansk by attacking the single road-and-railway line. This has happened before too; key positions along the railway line were attacked and captured by the Finnish forces in 1941-1943 during World War II.