Two days after the fights legislative elections in Finland, the Government of the Social Democratic Prime Minister Sanna Marin received an unexpected gift from Ankara on Thursday night. The Turkish Parliament ratified, with the support of the 276 deputies present, the entry of the Nordic country into NATO. With this, the 30 member states of the Atlantic Alliance have already given their approval for Finland to join the organization after decades of non-military alignment. Instead, the Turkish authorities keep slamming the door on Sweden.
The news comes after the Hungarian Parliament on Monday also supported only Helsinki’s entry by a large majority of the House (182 votes in favor to six against).
However, it will take a few days before Finland is formally accepted into NATO. Turkey must notify the Atlantic Alliance that Helsinki’s bid has been ratified, after which NATO can send a formal invitation. This is what the allied foreign ministers are expected to do at next week’s meeting.
The North Atlantic Treaty must then be included in Finnish law, the accession document signed and sent to Washington. When everything is complete, Finland will officially become NATO’s 31st member state.
In the opinion of the Secretary General of the Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, Finland’s entry “will make the NATO family stronger.” “I hope to raise the Finnish flag at the NATO headquarters in the next few days. Together we are stronger and safer,” Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter.
In an official statement, the Secretary General stressed that “Finland has highly capable forces, advanced capabilities and strong democratic institutions.”
From Helsinki, the prime minister did not hide her joy at the national unity demonstrated in an accession supported by 85% of the population. “This is a historic moment in many ways. I am also very proud of the Finnish people, the entire political leadership and how we have been able to bring this process to the finish line together,” Marin told Yle public television.
The Social Democratic leader stressed that Finland will now be safer, because “we will be protected by article 5”. «Others defend us and we defend others. We work together and we stand up for each other.”
For his part, the Finnish President, Sauli Niinisto, which shares the direction of foreign policy with the Government, thanked the 30 countries for their “trust and support.” “Finland will be a strong and capable ally committed to the security of the Alliance,” she promised. At the same time, Niinistö expressed that Finland “hopes to welcome Sweden as a member as soon as possible.”
Faced with the instability for their security represented by the Russian invasion of Ukraine a year ago, Helsinki and Stockholm jointly submitted their application to join NATO last May. A Copernican turn in its foreign policy after decades of military non-alignment (more than 200 years in the Swedish case). “The reason why we are applying to join NATO is very simple: the NATO line is the only one that Russia would not dare to cross.”Marin said.
But Turkey’s – and later Hungary’s – confrontation with Sweden has prevented both Nordic countries from completing their accession at the same time.
During their interventions, both the deputies of the Islamist party of the president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AKP) and those of the nationalist MHP criticized Stockholm for not living up to Ankara’s demands to accept its candidacy. In other words, to stop hosting sympathizers of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and extradite a hundred suspected terrorists to Ankara.
With Finland’s integration complete, allied pressure on Turkey to agree to Sweden’s entry is expected to increase. While little progress is foreseeable before the Turkish elections on May 14. In this sense, Stoltenberg insisted that “all the allies agree that a rapid conclusion of the Swedish ratification process will be in the interest of all.” “I also look forward to welcoming Sweden as a full member of the NATO family as soon as possible,” he said.
From Stockholm, the government of the conservative ulf kristersson no longer assumes that Sweden is a member of the Atlantic Alliance for the Vilnius (Lithuania) summit of the July 11 and 12.