>> Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) and his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto during talks in Ankara, March 17, 2023.
Ankara – Turkey will begin the ratification of Finland's application to join the North Atlantic Alliance. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this after meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö. The request will be discussed by the Turkish parliament. Erdogan hopes lawmakers will approve Finland's entry before Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections in May. Sweden, which is also seeking to join NATO, will have to wait for the start of ratification in the Turkish parliament.
“We have decided to start the process of approving Finland's entry into NATO in our parliament,” Erdogan announced today. According to him, Helsinki has taken concrete steps to fulfill Turkish demands, for example in the matter of combating groups that Ankara considers terrorist.
The Finnish president described today's Turkish announcement as very good and important news for his country. He added, however, that Finland's membership in NATO will not be complete until Sweden also joins the alliance.
Stockholm, however, will have to wait until the start of ratification of its request in the Turkish parliament. Erdogan said negotiations with Sweden on combating terrorist groups would continue. Ankara considers, for example, the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) or the Kurdish YPG militia and their sympathizers to be those. Erdogan criticized Stockholm for not extraditing to Ankara people whom the Turkish authorities consider to be terrorists or their supporters.
In the current Turkish parliament, Erdogan and his allies have a majority. The Turkish head of state said that she believes that the parliament will approve the Finnish request before the presidential and parliamentary elections that will take place in Turkey on May 14.
The entry of the Nordic countries into the North Atlantic Alliance must be approved by the parliaments of all member countries. In addition to Turkey, Hungary has still not done so, and according to today's news, its parliament should start considering the request at the end of March.