Parliament approves Finland’s bid to join NATO

Parliament approves Finland’s bid to join NATO

Parliament approves Finland’s bid to join NATO

A bill for the accession of Finland to NATO was adopted at the parliament late on March 30, lifting the last hurdle in the way of the Nordic country’s long-delayed accession into the Western military alliance.

The Turkish parliament approved Finland’s request to join the military alliance with 276 votes in favor. While the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) did not participate in the voting, other parties voted in favor of the bill.

Türkiye became the final NATO nation to ratify Finland’s membership of the U.S.-led defense alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I welcome the vote of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye to complete the ratification of Finland’s accession,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg tweeted moments after the vote.

“This will make the whole NATO family stronger and safer,” he added.

Türkiye’s approval leaves Finland, which has a 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Russia, with only a few technical steps before it becomes the 31st member of the alliance. Officials expect the process to be completed as early as next week.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on March 30 thanked NATO’s 30 member states for supporting his country’s bid to join the alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I want to thank every one of them for their trust and support. Finland will be a strong and capable ally, committed to the security of the alliance,” he said in a statement released on Twitter.

Finland and its neighbor, Sweden, ended decades of military non-alignment and decided to join NATO last May. Their applications were accepted at a June alliance summit that was designed to show the Western world’s desire to stand up to Russia in the face of Europe’s most grave conflict since World War II.

Sweden’s bid to join the alliance, meanwhile, has been left hanging, with both Türkiye and Hungary holding out on giving it the green light.

The Hungarian parliament ratified Finland’s NATO membership on March 27.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier said he had a more supportive stance on Finland’s membership, but not on Sweden’s.
Ankara put up stiff resistance to Sweden’s candidacy because of a series of long-standing disputes.

Turkish government accuses Sweden of being too lenient toward terrorist organizations and security threats, including the PKK terror organization. It has also angered Türkiye by refusing to extradite dozens of FETÖ and PKK suspects.

Turkish officials have said that, unlike Sweden, Finland fulfilled its obligations under a memorandum signed last year under which the two countries pledged to address Türkiye’s security concerns.