Finnish foreign minister told a local broadcaster that joint membership of the two Nordic countries remains "the first option" but going solo can be considered.
“You have to assess the situation. Has something happened that the longer term would prevent the Swedish project from going ahead? It [is] too early to take a position on that," he was quoted as saying.
"My own assessment is that there will be a delay (in getting Turkey's approval), which will certainly last until the Turkish elections in mid-May."
Ending decades of military neutrality, Sweden and Finland applied to join the US-led Western military alliance in May last year, following the Russian military operation in Ukraine.
All 30 NATO member states must agree on admitting new members, as per the norm.
Turkey has so far refused to approve their bids, in an attempt to get the two countries to meet certain political demands, including extraditing Kurdish groups Ankara claims are "terrorists".
On May 13, days before the two countries submitted formal applications for NATO membership, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that he opposed allowing them to join the alliance, describing the two countries as “home to many terrorist organizations.”
On Monday, Erdogan said Sweden could no longer count on Ankara's support after a copy of the Quran was burned by a far-right Danish leader in front of the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital amid protests.
Turkey conveyed strong protest after Rasmus Paludan received permission from the Swedish government to set ablaze the Muslim holy book on Saturday, despite prior warnings from the Turkish authorities.#NATO #Turkey #Sweden 23-01-24
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