Finland's President Niinisto visits Turkey
Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan and Finland's President Sauli Niinisto shake hands during their meeting in Ankara, Turkey March 17, 2023. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS Photo: Reuters/MURAT CETINMUHURDAR/PPO

Turkey to start ratifying Finland's NATO bid, Erdogan says


President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey's parliament will begin ratifying Finland's NATO bid, but not that of Sweden, removing the biggest remaining hurdle to enlarging the Western defense alliance as war continues to rage in Ukraine.

Speaking in Ankara alongside Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto, Erdogan said Helsinki won Turkey's blessing after taking concrete steps to keep its promises to crack down on what it sees as terrorists and to free up defense exports.

Ankara will continue discussions with Stockholm on terrorism-related issues and Sweden's NATO membership bid would depend directly on measures taken, he added.

The parliaments of all 30 NATO members must ratify newcomers.

"We have decided to initiate the ratification of Finland's accession process to NATO in our parliament," Erdogan told reporters after meeting with Niinisto, adding he hoped parliament would endorse the bid before May 14 elections.

Niinisto said he welcomed the decision and called it "very important" for Finland, which shares a long border with Russia.

In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland applied last year to join the trans-Atlantic pact but faced unexpected objections from Turkey. Ankara says Stockholm harbours members of terrorist groups, a charge Sweden denies.

Apart from Hungary, whose ruling party has said it backs the two Nordic bids but has delayed steps, Turkey is the only NATO member not yet to have given Finland and Sweden its green light.

© Thomson Reuters 2023.

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Apart from Hungary,

Turkey will approve Finland but block Sweden.

Hungary will approve Sweden but block Finland.

Keep chasing the carrot.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Turkey and Hungary out if they don't approve both.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In light of what's going on now Sweden and Finland have a right to be scared for their security and apply for NATO membership. If Turkey and Hungary don't like it, wah.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

So if they join NATO, then Vladimir Putin is 100% correct. NATO is expanding to Russia’s borders. Either EU/UK/USA should apologize to Russia and compensate them for lying about not expanding to Russia’s borders, or Russia has the right to carry out preemptive nuclear strikes on NATO.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So if they join NATO, then Vladimir Putin is 100% correct. NATO is expanding to Russia’s borders.

Your hero ain't too smart. He allegedly wanted less NATO and instead will get NATO to the fullest extent.

Russia has the right to carry out preemptive nuclear strikes on NATO.

Maniacs can do whatever they can do, but Moscow and St. Petersburg won't survive a nuclear exchange. Nobody will care what Putin or you think is right, then.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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