Finland to consider arms exports to Turkey as it seeks Ankara support for Nato membership bid

Finland and Sweden both asked to join the alliance in May in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Finland would consider granting arms export permits to Turkey on a case-by-case basis, Finland’s defence minister said while visiting Ankara on Thursday, in an effort to bring Turkey round to supporting Finland’s and Sweden’s Nato membership bids.

Finland and Sweden both asked to join the alliance in May in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but their bids require the approval of all 30 Nato member states. Only long-time Nato member Turkey stands opposed to their membership, accusing the Nordic countries of hosting Kurdish militants.

Defence minister Antti Kaikkonen said neither Finland nor Sweden had general arms embargoes in place on Turkey, but Finland froze new export permits in 2019 after Turkey initiated a land offensive in Kurdish areas of Northern Syria.

“In principle it is possible that going forward some permits can be granted,” Mr Kaikkonen said after meeting his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar. Applications would be processed case by case as they arrive, he added.


Finland must lift an arms embargo on Ankara as a condition to securing support from Turkey for its Nato bid, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.

Hungary must also formally ratify the Nordic nations’ application. – Reuters