Turkey finally agrees to ratify Finland’s bid to join NATO
Recep Tayyip Erdan, the Turkish president, has agreed to lift his veto on Finland’s application for membership in the Transatlantic military alliance NATO.
Finland shares an 832-mile border with Russia and was forced to rethink its foreign and security policies and apply for NATO membership after Russia invaded Ukraine. Finland would become the 31st member if it joined the alliance.
This move will undoubtedly increase the west’s ability and willingness to retaliate against any future Russian threats across the Baltic Sea.
Erdogan met with Sauli Niinisto (Finnish president) in Ankara on Friday, March 17th, and said that he would recommend that the Turkish parliament vote for Finland’s application to join. He expressed hope that the vote would take place before the May Turkish elections.
On Friday, Erdoğan said Turkey’s concerns about Kurdish terrorist activity in Finland had been addressed.
“Turkey is one of the strong defenders of Nato’s open-door policy,” he said. Finland had taken “concrete and authentic steps” to meet Turkey’s security concerns, and “with Finland’s membership Nato will become stronger”.
Niinistö said to Erdoğan: “Now we have got an answer, thank you,” but he added: “Finnish Nato membership is not complete without Sweden.” He expressed the hope that both countries would be permitted to join Nato at its summit in Vilnius in July.
For months, Erdoğan demanded that Finland and Sweden do more to clamp down on Kurdish activists.
Erdoğan has been seeking assurances from Finland and Sweden to eradicate members of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), an organization designated as terrorist by the European Union. He said there should be “no place for any terror group no matter what their name or aim”.
Hungary is now the only other NATO member still to approve Finland’s membership, and it is expected to relent next week rather than be left isolated within the alliance.