Home Updates Politics Finland’s NATO accession ratified by the Turkish parliament

Finland’s NATO accession ratified by the Turkish parliament

Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, Turkey’s parliament approved a bill on Thursday that greenlit Finland’s entry into NATO, making it the newest member of the Western military alliance.

Finland’s NATO accession ratified by the Turkish parliament

The Turkish parliament has given the green light to legislation enabling Finland to become a member of NATO, thus removing one of the final obstacles in Helsinki’s accession to the alliance. This comes when the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has heightened the importance of bolstering NATO’s defense capabilities. The bill was passed unanimously, as all 276 lawmakers present during the session on Thursday voted in favor of the motion. Hungary’s parliament had also recently approved Finland’s NATO membership.

Of the 30 member nations in NATO, Turkey was the final country to approve Finland’s membership. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently confirmed that Finland had gained Turkey’s approval by implementing measures to combat groups that are considered to be “terrorists” by Ankara, as well as by easing restrictions on the export of defense-related products. This news comes after a series of steps taken by Finland to address Turkey’s concerns regarding its potential NATO membership.

Finnish President Expresses Gratitude for NATO Support after Membership Approval

Following the successful ratification of Finland’s membership in NATO, President Sauli Niinisto conveyed his appreciation to the 30 member states of the alliance for their support. The President affirmed Finland’s commitment to being a strong and capable ally, fully dedicated to ensuring the safety and security of the entire NATO community. In a statement on Twitter, he expressed gratitude to each country for placing trust in Finland and endorsing their accession to the alliance.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also approved Finland’s accession to the alliance. Stoltenberg thanked Finland for their unwavering commitment to the alliance’s collective defense and emphasized the importance of continued cooperation among all member states. In a tweet, he welcomed the successful ratification by the Turkish parliament and acknowledged the significant impact it would have in strengthening and securing the NATO community as a whole.

In the wake of Russia’s incursion into Ukraine in February 2022, Finland and Sweden submitted requests to join NATO, marking a significant departure from their longstanding military non-alignment. This move ended decades of neutrality by both nations and demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with other NATO members to ensure the security and stability of the region. Finland, which shares an 800-mile (1,300 km) border with Russia, was particularly motivated to join the transatlantic alliance due to the escalating conflict in its neighboring country.

Turkey and Hungary Withhold Approval for Sweden’s NATO Membership Bid

While all member nations have successfully ratified Finland’s bid to join NATO, Sweden’s accession to the alliance remains uncertain. Despite expressing their support for NATO’s expansion, Turkey and Hungary have yet to approve Sweden’s membership request, leaving it in limbo. Turkey has accused Sweden of being too accommodating towards Kurdish groups that Ankara considers “terrorists” and individuals associated with a failed coup attempt in 2016. As a result, the country’s NATO membership bid has been met with resistance from certain member states, leading to a complex and potentially prolonged approval process.

Ankara has further expressed frustration regarding several protests in Sweden, including a demonstration where activists burned the Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy. This has added to the complications surrounding Sweden’s bid to join NATO, as Turkey has accused Sweden of not doing enough to prevent such actions. Meanwhile, Hungary’s government has raised concerns over derogatory remarks made by Swedish politicians about the state of democracy in Hungary. Hungary has also accused Sweden of playing a role in freezing billions of euros in European Union funds over allegations of democracy and rule-of-law violations. These issues have led to hesitation on the part of Hungary and Turkey in approving Sweden’s request for NATO membership.

According to Turkish officials on Thursday, unlike Sweden, Finland has met its commitments as outlined in a memorandum signed by the two nations last year. This agreement detailed a pledge by Finland to address security concerns raised by Turkey. It is suggested that this fulfillment of obligations played a role in the successful ratification of Finland’s NATO membership bid. However, Sweden’s potential membership remains in question, as some member states have raised concerns over the country’s approach to issues such as Kurdish groups and democratic values.

Turkish Parliament Approves Finland’s Membership in NATO
Turkish Parliament Approves Finland’s Membership in NATO
Source: Web

Turkey Cites Concrete Steps by Finland to Support NATO Membership Bid

During the parliamentary session before the vote, Akif Cagatay Kilic, a legislator from Turkey’s governing party, highlighted the expectations and requests that come with being a NATO member, specifically regarding the security concerns of Turkey. Kilic praised Finland’s efforts in meeting these expectations and fulfilling their obligations as outlined in the memorandum signed between the two nations last year. Kilic emphasized that these concrete steps were crucial in approving Finland’s bid for NATO membership. This indicates that Turkey’s concerns were addressed by Finland, which helped facilitate the successful ratification.

While the Turkish parliament overwhelmingly approved Finland’s bid for NATO membership, some opposition parties expressed disappointment with the government’s handling of the situation. Hisyar Ozsoy, a legislator from the pro-Kurdish party, criticized Erdogan’s ruling party for using its right to veto as a tool for blackmail and threats toward Finland and Sweden. Ozsoy also disapproved of the bargaining process that involved pressuring the extradition of Kurdish dissidents, which he deemed ugly, wrong, and unlawful. It indicates some political controversy surrounding the issue; not all parties agree with the government’s tactics.

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