A surprising statement from Niinistö at Ylele: The NATO application was not the main purpose of the meeting with Erdoğan

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President Sauli Niinistö emphasized on Ylen Ykkösaamu that Finland did not humble itself in front of Turkey. This is how the Turkish president gave his blessing to Finland's NATO membership. matti.tanner@iltalehti.fiYesterday at 11:13 (edited yesterday at 11:55)

The President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö said on Saturday on Ylen Ykkösaamu's live broadcast that sealing Finland's NATO membership was not the main purpose of his trip to Turkey , but it was to get to talk with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about the “geopolitical situation, which is a reason to be very worried”. Niinistö just returned from Turkey, where he met Erdoğan on Friday, who promised to push forward the ratification of Finland's NATO membership.

Niinistö said that he had talked with Erdoğan for about an hour alone. He reminded that Erdogan has direct connections with, for example, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi and the leadership of Iran.

– Now it is good to realize that there is a lot of negative spiral happening in the world , Niinistö said.

When asked if Turkey and President Erdoğan shared Niinistö's concern about the world situation, the president replied that the long discussion “did not bring any new big perspectives”.

 Niinistöä&aumläääääääää's statement: The NATO application was not the purpose of the meeting with Erdoğan

President Sauli Niinistö held a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday. Jenni Gästgivar

No cheers

Niinistö was also asked an audience question on Ykkösaamu's broadcast, asking what it's like to negotiate with the president of Turkey and why Finland needs to humiliate the dictator. Niinistö replied that Finland has not bowed down at all, but has strictly followed the so-called agreement made with Turkey at the NATO meeting in Madrid last summer. memorandum of understanding. He said that the document can withstand all criticism.

– If I wore a hat, I would never have had to take it off, Niinistö stated.

He also emphasized that he had said throughout the process that he would not go to Turkey to beg for anything.

Niinistö was also asked about his feelings when the long and challenging application for NATO membership is finally reaching its goal.

< p class="paragraph">– Of course it's a relief, but you have to remember that it's a long process. Now, as a big watershed, I don't think this is something that I would squeal with joy, but this time I feel relieved in this matter, he said.

Niinistö talked with Erdoğan for about an hour. Jenni Gästgivar

Hardest moment

Niinistö said that after the turn of the year, she received a message from Turkey that it would be good for the Finnish president to come for a visit.

– I ignored it, because it would have been a message that “separate us”, he said, referring to the line agreed with Sweden to apply for NATO membership together.

He said that in Finland it had been decided to go to Turkey only after a clear message had been received in the public in recent weeks that Erdoğan intends to forward the approval of membership to the Turkish parliament. for himself the most difficult moment in the NATO membership process in the last year. He said that it was already before the start of Russia's attack on Ukraine, when Russian President Vladimir Putinannounced the demand that NATO may no longer expand. He says that at that time he was in close contact with the heads of state in Ukraine, the United States, and Russia in order to prevent the attack.

According to Niinistö, the Finnish leadership also felt great concern about the reaction of applying for NATO membership in the east.


– Yes, we went through many variations with the commander of the defense forces, what might happen and how we might react. It was an unknown situation in that sense.

“Binding wanted notice”

Niinistö also took a stand on Friday on the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court ICC for Putin. The reason for the arrest warrant is the illegal transfer of Ukrainian children from the territories of Ukraine occupied by Russia to Russia, which is a war crime.

– It is a binding search warrant and we will act accordingly, he said.

Niinistö emphasized that it is an international criminal process, to which the member states of the court, including Finland, are committed.

On Saturday morning, Niinistö did not want to give exact dates on the final timetable for Finland's NATO membership. However, he was quite clear that before the parliamentary elections in early April, Finland is not yet a member of NATO.

Niinistö stated that in the best possible case, Finland will be “wiser around Easter” in this matter. According to Niinistö, the watershed in the matter is Turkey's April elections. If the acceptance of membership exceeds them, the final becoming a member will drag on well into the summer.

Niinistöltä'sä statement Ylell;: The NATO application was not the purpose of the Erdoğan meeting