Independent Thinking: Sweden, Finland, and NATO

Episode 21 of our weekly podcast examines the latest developments relating to Sweden and Finland’s proposed accession to NATO.

Audio Published 31 March 2023 Updated 16 October 2023 24 minute listen

The Hungarian parliament has finally ratified Finland’s membership to the NATO alliance, two weeks after President Erdogan in Turkey gave his seal of approval following a meeting with the Finnish president.

Sweden however remains trapped in limbo, with both Turkey and Hungary delaying Stockholm’s membership and Erdogan in particular asking for more concessions.

The panel discusses why Turkey and Hungary took issue with Sweden and Finland, what the strategic situation in the Baltic looks like now with only Finland joining NATO, and the challenges facing Sweden amid its fraught ties with President Erdogan.

We also look ahead to Turkey’s presidential election in May as recent opinion polls point to a neck-and-neck race, with some polls even showing President Erdogan falling behind the opposition. The panel examines what the sentiment is like in Turkey ahead of the election, and how the world would respond if there was a change in power in Ankara for the first time in 20 years.

Joining Bronwen Maddox on the podcast this week is Henri Vanhanen, research fellow with the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, and Galip Dalay, associate fellow with our Middle East and North Africa programme.

About Independent Thinking

Independent Thinking is a weekly international affairs podcast hosted by our director Bronwen Maddox, in conversation with leading policymakers, journalists, and Chatham House experts providing insight on the latest international issues.

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