Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated his opposition to Finland's and Sweden's Nato membership again Monday evening, saying that Turkey does not intend to support either country as a member of Nato.
Iltalehti reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that at the same time, Erdoğan signaled that it would be pointless for Finland and Sweden to send negotiators to Ankara to discuss the issue.
Erdoğan's objections centred on three things – arms, Kurdish nationalists, and supporters of the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen.
Finland froze arms export licenses to Turkey in 2019, when Turkey attacked areas controlled by Kurdish forces across the Syrian border.
Turkey has accused both Finland and Sweden of acting as a haven for terrorists. In this context, Turkey refers to supporters of the PKK and Fethullah Gülen. Iltalehti pointed out that Turkey has further accused both countries of supporting the Kurdish YPG in Syria.
Gülen, meanwhile, has been accused of attempting a 2016 coup in Turkey, and his supporters are said to have formed an group, known as Fetö, which Turkey views as a terrorist organization.
Iltalehti highlighted Turkish media reports according to which Finland and Sweden have rejected more than 30 requests to extradite supporters of the PKK and Gülen.
The Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah says that in the last five years Turkey has demanded that Finland extradite six Fetö and six PKK supporters to face terrorism charges. Sweden, for its part, has been asked to return a total of 21 alleged terrorists to Turkey.
Sabah quotes the Turkish Ministry of Defense to the effect that Finland and Sweden have rejected extradition requests for a total of 19 terrorist suspects.
According to Iltalehti, Finland is currently processing the extradition to Turkey of two suspects—Sweden seven.
Parliament continuing debate, support from France, Baltics
On Monday, the Finnish Parliament began a marathon debate regarding the government's report covering Finland's changed security environment—including accession to Nato.
During the debate, which lasted more than 14 hours, 212 speeches were heard. First Deputy Speaker Antti Rinne (SDP) formally closed the first session at 20 minutes past midnight, according to Ilta-Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun).
The paper reported that a second plenary session on Tuesday, will focus on a report from the Committee on Foreign Affairs and possibly conclude with vote on joining Nato. The debate is expected to begin at noon.
If a vote is held, Ilta-Sanomat said it expects it to pass by an overwhelming majority, with only about 10 MPs in the 200 seat legislature likely to oppose Finland's membership in Nato.
In its evening coverage, the paper also reported that the French presidency announced on Monday that the country was ready to support Sweden and Finland politically and with “enhanced military interactions”, and protect the country against any threats or aggressions.
“Whomever would seek to test European solidarity by threatening or attacking their sovereignty... must be certain that France will stand shoulder to shoulder with Finland and Sweden”, the Élysée said in the English version of a press release.
Meanwhile, the Jyväskylä-based Keskisuomalainen (siirryt toiseen palveluun) reported that the foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania issued a joint statement promising the full support of the Baltic states for Finland's and Sweden's membership.
Earlier on Monday, Norway, Denmark and Iceland also pledged in a joint statement to support Finland and Sweden during the Nato application process.
Hockey: Finland 4 - USA 1
Hufvudstadsbladet (siirryt toiseen palveluun)described Finland's 4-1 win over the USA in Tampere Monday evening as the "perfect continuation of the World Championship party".
It wrote that with three wins in as many games, the start of the championships could not have been better for Finland's Lions. It said that play against the USA sent message of strength both in terms of the game, and the ability of Finnish players to keep their nerves in check.
One week ago, the situation looked anything but bright for Finland's national team which had suffered four losses in a row.
Following wins over Norway (5-0) and Latvia (2-1), the USA was the team's first real test in the championship, and the lions showed that they can meet a challenge when needed.
Hufvudstadsbladet said that Monday's game against the USA was a completely different kind of hockey than the initial matches against Norway and Latvia. The Lions played at a completely different level than in the first two and the team showed that they can stand up to the Americans' physical and undisciplined style.
Finland will next meet Sweden on Wednesday evening.
Wet, but warming
Iltalehti tells its readers (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that warmer temperatures can be expected within the next few days, but only in western and southern parts of the country.
According to Foreca meteorologist Juha Föhr, daytime temperatures in sunny parts of the country may rise to as high as 20C this coming weekend. But before that, there is plenty of rain in the forecast.
Föhr points out that May is often drier than present conditions, but this week's wet weather is a good thing
"It is important that it rains so that we can have the summer we hope for," Föhr told Iltalehti.
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