Opinion: Expansion of NATO (Sweden and Finland’s Application)

Why does NATO still exist and Why is it still expanding?

Opinion: Expansion of NATO (Sweden and Finlands Application)

Can Yucel, Editor/Writer

Starting after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the application process of Finland and Sweden to NATO was added to the agenda recently. This process was tense after Turkey’s President Erdogan announced that he would veto Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO. Erdoğan and Çavuşoğlu (foreign minister of Turkey) stated that these two countries support the terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq and so they would use the vote in the direction of rejection. Announcing that he will send a team to persuade Erdogan, Erdogan said to NATO, “Let them not bother.”

Why did Finland and Sweden need to apply to NATO, citing the threat of Russia?

In order to answer this question, we first need to understand the history of NATO and the reason for its establishment. NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was signed on April 4, 1949, in Washington DC under the name “North Atlantic Treaty”. And over time, 18 more countries joined this treaty, in addition to first Turkey and Greece. This treaty was a precaution against the Soviet threat. Six years later, the Soviet Union signed the Warsaw Pact, including other communist countries. 

These two treaties clarified and formalized the sides of the Cold War. With the disintegration of the USSR in 1991, the Warsaw Pact was dissolved. All of the Warsaw Pact countries, including Russia, switched to a multi-party parliamentary system. There is no Soviet threat left. Indeed, the Cold War is over. But NATO did not dissolve. On the contrary, it continued to grow and expand. Although there was no threat, 14 new members joined NATO after the Warsaw Pact was dissolved. This figure corresponds to almost half of its members.

Russia, on the other hand, naturally does not want a NATO threat right next to it. The Ukraine crisis arose because of Ukraine’s president Zelensky’s affinity with NATO and the transformation of Ukraine into a potential NATO country. And now Sweden and Finland, Russia’s northwest neighbors, are in the process of applying to NATO. It is quite normal for this situation to trigger Russia. NATO is also aware that Russia will not remain silent in this situation.


Persistently attacking Russia and triggering them is preparing the ground for war in Scandinavia, just as in Ukraine. If NATO had disintegrated with the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, Russia would not have felt such a threat and would not have intervened reactively in its neighboring countries. Keeping NATO alive and expanding is not a defense that pacifies Russia; on the contrary, it threatens Russia and causes it to intervene like this.


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