Turkey set to approve Finland's NATO membership

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Turkey set to approve Finland’s entry into NATO

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey was set to become the latest NATO member to join on Thursday evening. ratify Finland's membership after an expected vote in Parliament.

The entry of this small Nordic country into the Atlantic Alliance was to be approved in the evening after the examination of several bills submitted to deputies, according to the AFP journalist on site.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave the green light in mid-March to Finland's entry into NATO after 10 months of blockage, in submitting to the deputies the text of ratification. The decision was immediately welcomed by the Atlantic Alliance.

We have decided to start Finland's NATO membership process in our Parliament, Erdogan said at the time after a meeting in Ankara with the Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a meeting in Ankara on March 17.

The ratification is a priori no doubt, as the Turkish Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee approved it last week.

Turkey is the latest country to do so after ratification by the Hungarian Parliament on Monday, but it leaves Sweden, like Budapest, on NATO's doorstep.

Finnish and Swedish membership applications were submitted jointly last year, however, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Both require unanimous approval by all 30 NATO member states. ratification ahead of Turkey's presidential and legislative elections scheduled for May 14, with the Turkish parliament expected to adjourn about a month before the double ballot takes place.

Since May 2022, Mr. Erdogan has been blocking the entry into the Atlantic Alliance of Finland and, even more, of its Swedish neighbor.

Turkey accuses Stockholm in particular 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.

Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson at a NATO press conference in early March 2023.

Finland, subject to forced neutrality by Moscow after its war against the Soviet Union in World War II, shares the longest European border (1340 km) with Russia, behind Ukraine.

The Kremlin, which at first seemed to play down the importance of Finland and Sweden's candidacy, has toughened its tone in recent weeks, estimating on Tuesday that the two countries would become, once admitted to the x27;NATO, legitimate targets of reprisals from Moscow, including military ones.

Sweden had, in the wake of Wednesday, announced the summons of the Russian ambassador to Stockholm.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also said last week that Moscow would deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of its ally, Belarus, located at the gates of the European Union.

The situation remains delicate for Sweden, which still faces objections from Ankara.

There have been no positive measures taken by Sweden regarding the list of terrorists, Erdogan lamented, referring to more than 120 extradition requests made by Ankara. a copy of the Koran by an extremist in the Swedish capital in January led to the suspension of talks between Ankara, Helsinki and Stockholm.

The Turkish president then suggested that the Turkey was ready to approve Finland's membership separately, although the two countries originally wanted to go hand in hand.

Stockholm, however, hopes to complete the deal. #x27;his country joins the Alliance ahead of the next NATO summit, scheduled for July in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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