Turkish parliament ratifies Finland’s NATO membership, keeps Sweden waiting
After months of delaying Finland’s bid to join the military alliance – complaining the Nordic nation was supporting “terrorists” – Turkey’s parliament finally voted to approve its application, making Finland the 31st member of NATO.
Any addition of new members to the alliance requires the support of all its existing members. Both Finland and Sweden were quick enough to apply to join NATO last year following the conflict, but the latter is still being blocked by Turkey over similar complaints.
Finland will get formally admitted into the group at its next summit in July in Lithuania. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg took to Twitter to express his pleasure in raising Finland’s flag at NATO HQ in the upcoming days, adding “together we are stronger and safer.”
The Finnish government said joining the alliance would improve security and stability in the region, as an attack on one member is treated as an attack on them all. Prime Minister Sanna Marin tweeted: “Finland stands with Sweden now and in the future and supports its application.”
Turkey’s decision to approve Finland’s application clears the way for one of the most important moments in the defence alliance’s recent history. Finland’s approved membership is nothing less than a major strategic setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin launched a so-called special military operation in Ukraine last year with the expectation it would check the expansion of NATO. But he has achieved the exact opposite, it seems. Finland is set to become the seventh NATO member on the Baltic Sea.
The country, with a 1,340 km border with Russia, ditched its neutrality and applied to join the alliance in response to the full-scale invasion. Sweden has also abandoned neutrality, but unlike its neighbour, it does not share a border with Russia.
Russia’s foreign ministry earlier criticised Finland’s move, saying it was based on Russophobic hysteria. But the war in Ukraine has drastically altered Finnish public opinion. Last spring – almost overnight – support for joining NATO climbed from one-third of Finns to almost 80%.