Turkey gives green light to Finland joining NATO
Finland and neighboring Sweden applied to join NATO following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave on Friday its green light for Finland's entry into NATO, submitting to the Turkish Parliament the ratification of Finland's application for membership, a decision immediately welcomed by the Atlantic Alliance.
We have decided to start Finland's NATO membership process in our Parliament, Erdogan said after meeting in Ankara with President Finnish Sauli Niinistö.
Turkish President's announcement further paves the way for the Nordic country to join the Alliance, 28 of its 30 Member States that have already approved his candidacy.
Hungary must also ratify the Finnish and Swedish applications for membership, submitted jointly last year following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and which require ;to be approved unanimously.
The Hungarian parliament will vote on Finnish membership on March 27, the Hungarian government spokesman announced on Friday.< /p>
Mr. Erdogan, who received his Finnish counterpart on Friday, had been blocking since May 2022 the entry into the Atlantic Alliance of the Nordic country and, even more, of its Swedish neighbor.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticizes Sweden and Finland for their “passivity” in the face of the presence of Kurdish “terrorists” in their territory.
Turkey notably accuses Stockholm of passivity in the face of Kurdish “terrorists” who have taken refuge in Sweden, demanding extraditions on which the government does not have the last word.
But the leader of the Turkish state, which continues to block the Swedish candidacy, acknowledged the concrete steps taken by Helsinki in recent months.
I hope [the ratification] will take place before the elections, Erdogan said during a press conference with his Finnish counterpart.
Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for May 14, but the country's parliament is expected to adjourn about a month before the double ballot.
We hope the [Turkish] parliament will have time, the Finnish president said, calling the process very important for Finland.
Finland, subject to forced neutrality by Moscow after its clash with the Soviet Union in World War II, shares the longest European border (1340 km) with Russia, behind Ukraine.
Mr. Niinistö, however, judged that Finland's candidacy is not complete without that of Sweden.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who has welcomed the announcement made by President Erdogan, considered that the most important thing is that Finland and Sweden quickly become full members of NATO, not that they join it exactly at the same time.
The forces of Sweden and Finland conduct military exercises alongside the troops of the NATO since Russia invaded Ukraine.
The situation is more delicate for Sweden, which still faces objections from Ankara.
In Stockholm, the government deplored on Friday not having had the green light from Turkey to ratify its entry into NATO, unlike its Finnish neighbor.
C& #x27;is a development we didn't want, but were prepared for, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström told a press conference.
The important thing now for Sweden is to secure the two missing ratifications from Turkey and Hungary and to guarantee its security for as long as it takes, he said.
More bad news for Sweden: Hungarian Parliament set Friday March 27 for ratification of Finland's candidacy, but Sweden's case will be decided later, spokesman said of the government.
The head of Swedish diplomacy refused to comment on the information, declaring that he had not had confirmation from Budapest.
Stockholm believes it is doing everything in a book of understandings with Turkey negotiated last June at the Madrid summit, Billström said on Friday.
We do everything that is written in this notebook, we do not do less and we do not do more than what is in it, said the Swedish minister.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meanwhile said there had been no positive steps taken by Sweden regarding the terrorist list, citing more than 120 requests of extradition formulated by Ankara.
The Swedish government regularly repeats that justice and not the government has the last word on extraditions in Sweden.
There will be answers which may be positive and others which may be negative from Turkey's point of view, and it will simply be like that, Billström said on Friday.