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As Turkey pressures Sweden, Finland may contemplate the only NATO membership application. Minister

Finland is exploring potential membership in NATO as its neighbour, Sweden, is being pressed by Turkey to also join the military alliance, Finland’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.

In an interview with Reuters, Pekka Haavisto said Finland was “seriously considering” a bid to join NATO and was in contact with the alliance and other countries about the possibility.

He said the situation had changed over the past few weeks after Turkey, one of NATO’s largest members, had publicly encouraged Sweden to join the alliance.

“It’s a fact that the situation has changed in the past few weeks when Turkey started to press Sweden to join NATO,” Haavisto said. “That has changed the situation in Finland too and we are seriously considering a NATO membership bid.”

Haavisto noted that Finland was already closely involved in NATO operations, including in Afghanistan and Iraq, but said it was important for Finland to maintain its own foreign policy.

“Finland is an independent state and we want to keep that,” he said.

He added that Finland was in talks with other countries, including Sweden, about the possibility of the two Nordic states joining NATO together.

“We are in contact with all the countries that are involved in this,” he said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg recently said that Sweden and Finland, who have been close allies for many years, could join the alliance together if they chose to do so.