Turkey is ready to approve Finland’s NATO membership. This was announced by the president of the country, Recep Tayyip Erdoganin a joint press meeting with his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinistö.
Already yesterday, the President and the Foreign Minister of Finland traveled to the Turkish capital to discuss NATO membership.
On Friday, Erdogan announced, in a joint press conference with Niinistö, that he is giving the green light for Finland to join the defense alliance. The Turkish parliament has yet to come up with the decision, which Erdogan hopes can happen before Turkey goes to the polls on May 14.
“It is very important for all of Finland,” said the Finnish head of state, who insisted that “Finnish’s membership in NATO is not complete without Sweden.”
Erdogan, on the other hand, lashed out at Sweden, which he accused of failing to live up to the tripartite agreement the nations signed in Madrid last year. Among other things, he accused Sweden of having “open arms to terrorism”, and repeated his demand that more than 100 terrorists be extradited to Turkey. “How the process will continue depends on Sweden’s concrete steps,” Erdogan explained.
For Finland to become a member of the Atlantic Alliance, Hungary must also ratify the application. The country’s main party, Fidesz, told Reuters on Thursday that it would support Finland’s NATO application in a parliamentary vote on March 27, but that processing of Sweden’s application was postponed.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson is not in Ankara today. However, he and Niinistö are said to have spoken on the phone with friends before the Finnish visit to Turkey. That is what the Finnish president writes on Twitter.
Earlier this week, Kristersson said the likelihood of Finland becoming a NATO member before Sweden had increased.
NATO’s hope is for both countries to become members before the Vilnius summit in July.