NATO Enlargement, Türkiye and the United States

Endast inbjudna · Webinar · 13.02.2023 16:00 - 17:00

Endast inbjudna

Nearly nine months after Finland and Sweden formally submitted their applications to join NATO, only two of the 30 Allies have yet to ratify the protocols required to complete the accession process. In November, Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán voiced support for Finnish and Swedish accession and promised the ratification issue “will be on the agenda of the first session of parliament,” which begins this month. In contrast, following demonstrations in Stockholm in mid-January by pro-Kurdish groups and the burning of a Koran by a far-right politician and anti-Islam provocateur, Türkiye’s President Erdogan warned that ”Sweden should not expect support from us for NATO.”  Only days later, he explicitly linked parliamentary ratification of Finnish and Swedish accession to their extradition “of nearly 130 terrorists.” More recently, Erdogan seemed to suggest that Ankara might agree to Finland’s accession before Sweden’s, stating: “We may deliver Finland a different message, and Sweden would be shocked when they see our message. But Finland should not make the same mistake Sweden did.”

The effects of this apparent stand-off are significant and wide ranging. While Finland and Sweden have received bilateral security assurances from the United States and other Allies since applying for NATO membership, they are not yet covered by the NATO Treaty’s Article 5 collective defence obligation. Nor can they fully participate in all aspects of Alliance planning activities, operations, information sharing, and decision making — a situation that runs counter to the Alliance’s efforts to strengthen its deterrence and defense capabilities in the wake of Russia’s renewed aggression against Ukraine. Meanwhile, Türkiye’s stance on Finnish and Swedish accession also risks further strains in its bilateral relations with the United States. Those relations are already plagued by disputes—for example, over U.S. combat aircraft sales to Türkiye (and the latter’s purchase of Russian advanced air defence systems), their respective policies toward Syria, the application of sanctions on Russia due to its war on Ukraine, and broader regional policies of Washington and Ankara.    

This episode of Transatlantic Currents will discuss the current and possible future contours of U.S. policy regarding Finnish and Swedish accession to NATO as Washington seeks to achieve that goal as soon as possible while managing its important strategic relations with NATO Ally Türkiye.


Opening remarks:

Charly Salonius-Pasternak

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ville Sinkkonen is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA), Center on US Politics and Power. His research focuses on US foreign policy, hegemony, normative power and the politics of trust in international relations. Sinkkonen is the author of "A Comparative Appraisal of Normative Power" (Brill, 2015) and his work has been published in the Journal of Transatlantic Studies and European Foreign Affairs Review, among others. He holds a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) from the University of Turku.


Eric Edelman

Ambassador (ret.)

Ambassador Eric Edelman was recently appointed by the bipartisan leadership of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Armed Services Committees to be Vice Chair of the Commission on the National Defense Strategy, established by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022. He also serves as Counselor at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and has also been on the bipartisan board of directors of the United States Institute of Peace. Eric Edelman retired as a career minister from the U.S. Foreign Service on May 1, 2009. He has served in senior positions at the Departments of State and Defense and at the White House. As Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (August 2005-January 2009), he was DoD's senior policy official, overseeing strategy development with global responsibility for bilateral defense relations, war plans, special operations forces, homeland defense, missile defense, nuclear weapons and arms control policies, counterproliferation, counternarcotics, counterterrorism, arms sales, and defense trade controls. He served as U.S. ambassador to Finland (in the Clinton administration) and Turkey (in the Bush administration) and was Vice President Cheney's principal deputy assistant for national security affairs. He was chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, special assistant to Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Robert Kimmitt, and special assistant to Secretary of State George Shultz. His other assignments included the State Department Operations Center, Prague, Moscow, and Tel Aviv, where he was a member of the U.S. Middle East delegation to the West Bank/Gaza autonomy talks.


Leo Michel

Non-Resident Fellow, FIIA

Leo Michel is Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. His previous government positions included: Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies; Director for NATO Policy and Director for Non-Nuclear Arms Control in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Deputy U.S. Representative to the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Consultative Commission as well as other government positions. Michel holds a M.A. from Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies and a B.A. from Princeton University.