Turkey ratifies Finland's NATO Membership

World | March 31, 2023, Friday // 09:26
Bulgaria: Turkey ratifies Finland's NATO Membership @Pixabay

The Turkish parliament has ratified Finland's membership in NATO, AFP reported. The country became the latest NATO country to ratify Finland's membership of the US-led defense alliance following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Lawmakers unanimously backed the Nordic country's accession two weeks after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly blessed the bid.

"Tonight we are fulfilling the promises we made to Finland," ruling party lawmaker Akif Cagatay Kılıç said minutes before the vote.

Turkey's approval leaves Finland just a few technical steps away from becoming the 31st member of the world's most powerful military bloc.

Officials expect the process to be completed as soon as next week.

Finland and its neighbor Sweden ended decades of military non-alignment and decided to join NATO last May.

Their bids were accepted at the alliance's June summit, which was intended to show the West's willingness to stand up to Russia in the face of Europe's worst conflict since World War II.

But the bids still had to be ratified by the parliaments of all members, a process that was delayed by Turkey and Hungary.

Erdogan has strongly opposed Sweden's bid due to a series of long-standing disputes.

In January, he first signaled his more supportive stance on Finland's membership. The position forced the Scandinavian neighbors to bow to diplomatic pressure and split their bids so that both bids would not be delayed.

On Monday, the Hungarian parliament ratified Finland's membership in NATO. It was expected to approve Sweden's accession during the current session, which ends on June 15.

But a spokesman for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban yesterday called on Sweden to "clear the air" and address "enough complaints" for the vote to go ahead.

Sweden upset Orban by expressing concern about the rule of law in Hungary.

Stockholm still hopes to join the alliance in time for the Vilnius summit in July.

Most analysts believe that Turkey will vote for Sweden's candidacy only after the country's parliamentary elections in May.

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Tags: turkey, Finland, NATO, Erdogan
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