Finland’s defense ministry said Wednesday the country had issued the first commercial export license for military material to Turkiye since 2019 – a key demand for Ankara to approve Helsinki’s NATO bid.
Riikka Pitkanen, special adviser at the ministry, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the export license granted concerned steel that would be used for armor.
Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO in May 2022, abandoning decades of military non-alignment, a decision spurred by Russia’s war against Ukraine. But Turkiye, a vital NATO member for more than 70 years, voiced objections, due to the two countries tolerating and supporting terrorist groups. This June, Turkiye and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum at a NATO summit to address Ankara’s legitimate security concerns, paving the way for their eventual membership in the alliance.
Turkiye on Tuesday postponed NATO accession talks with Sweden and Finland after tensions have been escalating between Ankara and Stockholm due to the latter’s unchanging stance on supporting terrorists and anti-Turkiye propaganda.
Ankara announced its decision a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lashed out at Sweden for allowing weekend protests that included burning of the Quran outside Ankara’s Stockholm Embassy.
Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen previously said during his visit to the Turkish capital Ankara that they would consider resuming arms export to Turkiye .
As for future defense industry cooperation with Turkiye ,Kaikkonen said at the time that both countries can cooperate more in the future and that their defense forces have had some preliminary talks about the matter.