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Thursday’s papers: Flights, fertiliser and four elections

How might Turkey's parliamentary elections impact Finland's potential Nato membership?

While recycled fertiliser is cheaper than mineral fertilisers, application costs, as well as possible constraints on cultivation have to be taken into account, Maaseudun Tulevaisuus writes. Image: Markku Sandell / Yle

The nation's largest circulation daily, Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun), carries an analysis of the possible effects of upcoming foreign and domestic elections on Finland's pending Nato membership.

Turkey, Finland and Sweden are all holding their parliamentary elections within the next 12 months, with the US midterm elections just five months away.

According to HS, although Nato membership enjoys wide cross-party support in Finland, this is not the case in Sweden. Even so, with the only parties opposed to the move, the Green Party and the Left Party, polling at just 12.7 percent, the Nordic neighbour’s election outcome is unlikely to affect Finland’s Nato proceedings.

With US midterm elections due in November, polls suggest the Democratic party will suffer losses, HS writes. However since the Republican party also largely supports membership for Nordic nations, any shift in power is also unlikely to affect Finland's pending Nato membership.

If the Nato deadlock is not solved within a year, could Turkey change its tune after its own parliamentary elections a year from now?

With Turkey accusing Finland and Sweden of harbouring terrorists and blocking the two countries’ Nato membership talks from proceeding, many political experts believe the country’s real aim is to open a dialogue with the US and secure the F-35 fighter jet programme for Turkey.

The Turkish government often displays more friendly behaviour toward the West following elections, according to Toni Alaranta, Senior Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. This could theoretically open a window of opportunity for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to change his tune, especially if he feels he has made political gains from the US over the past year, Alaranta said.

Turkey's position could also soften with a change of power, HS writes. The country’s main opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), has said it would handle the Kurdish issue bilaterally with Finland and Sweden, instead of blocking the two countries’ membership in the military alliance.

Domestic flights cut

Taloussanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) reports that the number of flights on five domestic routes will be reduced by 20 percent due to the rising costs of fuel.

The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom issued a statement on Wednesday that connections affected link Helsinki with Joensuu, Jyväskylä, Kajaani and Kokkola/Pietarsaari and Kemi/Tornio.

"It is regrettable that flights have to be cancelled, but the increase in fuel prices has been so significant that the budget allocated for the purchase of these flights would otherwise not be sufficient," said Pipsa Eklund, Director of Traficom, in a statement on Wednesday.

Rethinking recycled fertiliser

The farmers' union paper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus (siirryt toiseen palveluun) reports on the potential of recycled fertiliser use in Finland, featuring an interview with a farmer who has tried it for the first time.

Last year, Max Schulman, a farmer in the southwestern municipality of Lohja , experimented with large quantities of recycled fertiliser in his fields, reporting that the fertiliser—made from organic waste from the food industry, shops and catering establishments—worked well.

"It reacts well with the soil and its nutrients are evenly distributed," Schulman told the paper.

While recycled fertiliser is cheaper than mineral fertilisers, application costs have to be taken into account, as well as possible constraints on cultivation, Maaseudun Tulevaisuus writes.

The total area of Finnish arable fields is about 2.2 million hectares, of which about 1.8 million hectares are under efficient cultivation, Finnish energy company Gasum product manager, Juhani Viljakainen, estimated.

Viljakainen and Schulman agreed that there was not yet enough production of recycled fertilisers in Finland to make it possible for all farmers to make the switch.

"If recycled fertiliser was used efficiently, it could cover up to 10 percent of the fertiliser demand," Viljakainen noted.