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Researcher: Turkey's change of heart regarding Finland's, Sweden's Nato applications surprising

The issues agreed upon by Finland, Sweden, and Turkey in Madrid on Tuesday may need to be revisited, according to senior researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Toni Alaranta.

Senior researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs Toni Alaranta (left) was interviewed by Yle on Tuesday. Image: Yle

Senior researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA), Toni Alaranta, told Yle on Tuesday that he was surprised by how quickly Finland, Sweden and Turkey reached a consensus on the two Nordic countries' Nato applications.

The foreign ministers of Turkey, Sweden and Finland signed an official "memorandum of understanding" on the sidelines of the Nato summit in Madrid on Tuesday, confirming Turkey's support for welcoming the two Nordic countries to the alliance. The agreement was reached after four hours of negotiations.

Alaranta said that despite President Sauli Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson's cautious optimism about possible negotiation outcomes on Monday, expectations remained low.

The issues discussed on Tuesday may need to be revisited, Alaranta said, particularly if they leave a lot of room for interpretation, further noting that Turkey could well invoke this ambiguity later down the line.

The memorandum commits Sweden and Finland not to support certain entities that Turkey considers terrorist groups and to label the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as a terrorist organisation. Both Finland and Sweden also agreed to lift their arms embargoes against Turkey.

Additionally, the document mentions the tightening of the legislation on terrorist offenses already implemented in Finland and the upcoming new terrorism legislation in Sweden.

Niinistö told reporters that the solution was worked out in discussions between diplomats.

On the same day, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that Finland and Sweden would be invited to join the military alliance as early as Wednesday. Following that, each member state would have to ratify the two countries' membership separately.