Finland receives unanimous approval from NATO members after long months of tough negotiations and leaves behind its neighbor Sweden.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issues a decree approving the parliament’s decision to accept Finland’s NATO accession bid, according to the decree published by the state’s Resmi Gazete on Saturday.
“It was decided to consider the approval of the protocol of July 5, 2022, on Finland’s accession to NATO expedient,” the decree read.
The Turkish parliament on Thursday unanimously backed Finland’s bid to join the US-led NATO alliance only two weeks after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan openly blessed the bid.
Turkey’s ratification meant that all that remains before Finland becomes NATO’s 31st member are a few technical steps after Hungary also approved the bid on Monday. In that regard, officials expect that the process would be completed as early as next week.
Finland and its neighbor Sweden ended decades of military non-alignment and decided to join the US-led alliance in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
Their applications were accepted at a June NATO summit. But their bids still needed to be ratified by all 30 of the alliance members’ parliaments — a process that got hung up once it reached the turn of Turkey and Hungary.
Ankara suspended negotiations with Sweden in outrage following rallies attacking the Turkish leadership in Stockholm and the burning of the holy Quran outside Turkey’s embassy, but the talks resumed in Brussels on March 9.
Turkey has opposed Sweden’s bid, accusing Stockholm of providing a safe haven for what it considers “terrorists”, especially members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Erdogan emphasized on several occasions that the ratification of Sweden’s membership in NATO will depend on Stockholm’s future actions.