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Why Turkey dissents on Finland and Sweden joining NATO and why it matters

Finnish and Swedish officials have declared their intention to join NATO in recent days, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But their acceptance of the alliance requires unanimous consent among members, and the leader of one such state — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey — has voiced hesitation about the two nations.

Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey was not “favorable” toward the possibility of Finland and Sweden joining NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“We are following the developments with Sweden and Finland, but we don’t have favorable thoughts,” he told reporters.

But Turkey hasn’t said it would veto the countries’ membership. On Sunday, its foreign minister laid out several conditions for its support, including that the Nordic nations end what he called support for “terrorist organizations” in their countries, as well as export bans on Turkey.

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