Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that his government would move forward with ratifying Finland’s NATO application, paving the way for the country to join the military bloc ahead of Sweden.
The breakthrough came as Finnish President Sauli Niinisto was in Ankara to meet with Erdogan. Both Finland and Sweden applied to become NATO members 10 months ago in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, abandoning decades of nonalignment.
NATO requires the unanimous approval of its 30 existing members to expand, and Turkey and Hungary are the only countries that have not yet ratified the Nordic nations’ bids. The Turkish government accused both Sweden and Finland of being too soft on groups that it deems to be terror organizations, but expressed more reservations about Sweden.
“When it comes to fulfilling its pledges in the trilateral memorandum of understanding, we have seen that Finland has taken authentic and concrete steps,” Erdogan told a news conference in Ankara following his meeting with Niinisto.
“This sensitivity for our country’s security and, based on the progress that has been made in the protocol for Finland’s accession to NATO, we have decided to initiate the ratification process in our parliament,“ the president added. [Continue reading…]