Turkey approves Finland's NATO membership
Finland is set to become Nato's 31st member, as Turkey's parliament has approved the country's application. Finland's accession to the Alliance will lead to a more robust and safer Alliance, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg commented on Twitter. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto thanked all 30 NATO members for supporting Finland's forthcoming membership.
Turkey's parliament on Thursday night became the last member state to ratify Finland's accession, after the 29 other member states had already approved it.
Stoltenberg said on Twitter that he welcomed Turkey's ratification. "This will make the entire NATO family stronger and more secure," he wrote. Earlier in the day, the Secretary-General noted the importance of Sweden also becoming a "full member of NATO".
"Finland is now ready to join NATO," Finnish President Sauli Niinisto tweeted. His country will be a strong and capable Alliance partner, he said. Niinisto also thanked the other member states for "their confidence and support". He also hopes that Sweden, another NATO candidate, will be able to join "as soon as possible".
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin also offered a collective word of thanks to all NATO members. "As allies, we will give and receive security. We will defend each other. Finland stands with Sweden now and in the future and supports its application," she wrote on Twitter.
Sweden could still join by the summer, NATO chief Stoltenberg told POLITICO on Thursday. The country, along with Finland, applied for membership last year. But their fates parted on Thursday after Turkey ratified Finland's bid, leaving Sweden behind. The reason is an ongoing dispute over the country's support for Kurdish groups and restrictions on arms exports.
Nevertheless, Stoltenberg insisted in an interview that Sweden could still join after the Turkish elections in May.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during q joint press conference with to Finland's Foreign and Defence Ministers at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on March 20, 2023.
© Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP