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Defence Minister Savola: Erdoğan effigy unnecessarily provocative

Finland's Minister of Defence visited Sweden and his Swedish counterpart on Monday to discuss defence cooperation, support for Ukraine and the Nato application process, among other topics.

Mikko Savola tiedotustilaisuudessa.
Finnish Minister of Defence Mikko Savola (Cen) said the Stockholm demonstration depicting an effigy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 'unnecessarily provokes Turkey'. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle
Yle News

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has demanded new extraditions as a condition for Finland and Sweden's membership in NATO, following an incident in which a Kurdish group in Sweden hung an effigy of Erdoğan upside down in front of Stockholm's city hall.

According to Finnish defence minister Mikko Savola (Cen), the demonstration was also brought up during a meeting on Monday with the Swedish defence minister Pål Jonson in Stockholm, though their meeting mostly focused on other matters.

"Of course it was mentioned. It's an unfortunate event that unnecessarily provokes Turkey. But when we live in a Western country with freedom of expression, various demonstrations can come up. Of course, [such demonstrations are] pretty unnecessary and provocative at this stage," Savola said in an interview with Yle's Ykkösaamu morning programme on Tuesday.

Savola said he sees Turkey's new demands as part of its domestic politics. He noted that the issues agreed upon with Turkey in Madrid last summer have already been addressed, and there should not be any obstacles to ratifying membership.

"Turkey makes decisions as it sees fit."

Savola also said on Tuesday that he discussed defence cooperation, support for Ukraine and the Nato application process with his Swedish counterpart. The countries are committed to joining the North Atlantic defence alliance at the same time.

"It's clear that we're moving at the same pace. That was also acknowledged there," Savola emphasised.

Savola also stated that Finland cannot influence any possible fighter jet deal between the United States and Turkey. Turkey's foreign minister is currently discussing the purchase of fighter jets in the United States.

According to media reports, the United States has made Turkey's ratification of Finland and Sweden's membership a condition for F-16 fighter exports.

Besides Turkey, Hungary is the only other Nato member state that has not yet ratified Finland's Nato membership, though Budapest's ratification is expected in the next few months.

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