Finnish defence minister tight-lipped on lifting Turkey arms embargo

In the Finnish Broadcasting Company morning show, Kaikkonen also remained sceptical about the news published in the Swedish tabloid Expressen on Monday (30 May) that Sweden would agree to Turkish demands to allow arms sales. [EPA-EFE/KIMMO BRANDT]

Finnish Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen on Tuesday refused to comment on whether his country would be willing to lift its arms embargo on Turkey.

In the Finnish Broadcasting Company morning show, Kaikkonen also remained sceptical about the news published in the Swedish tabloid Expressen on Monday (30 May) that Sweden would agree to Turkish demands to allow arms sales.

Turkey says that the countries should lift their arms embargo and stop ‘supporting terrorism’ to unblock their NATO membership bids. Finland and Sweden stopped sending weapons to Turkey in 2019 after it invaded Syria.

The minister stressed that Finland had followed a principle not to export arms to warzones – a principle to which an exception was made with Ukraine.

Among Turkey’s demands, lifting the arms embargo would be the easiest to execute, Toni Alaranta, a Senior Research Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, told the MTV3 news channel on Tuesday (31 May). Other options are more complicated, he added.

But extraditing individuals to Turkey was categorically ruled out by Jussi Halla-aho, the Finns Party member who currently chairs the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

What remains on the table are “practical issues” like arms embargoes which are political issues, Halla-aho told MTV3 without positioning himself on whether arms sales to Turkey should be allowed.

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