Turkiye’s parliament yesterday voted to approve Finland’s bid to join NATO.
The Nordic country received Ankara’s official blessing for its request to join the military alliance, with 276 votes in favour.
Yesterday’s vote means that all 30 current member states of NATO have now ratified Finland’s accession, a requirement for it to join the alliance.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the vote.
“I welcome the vote of the Grand National Assembly of Turkiye to complete the ratification of Finland’s accession. This will make the whole NATO family stronger and safer,” he said on Twitter.
❝Finland will formally join our Alliance in the coming days. Their membership will make Finland safer and NATO stronger. I look forward to also welcoming Sweden as a full member of the NATO family as soon as possible.❞
— NATO (@NATO) March 31, 2023
Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto also welcomed the vote in a tweet, saying: “I want to thank everyone of them for their trust and support. Finland will be a strong and capable Ally, committed to the security of the Alliance. “
#Finland‘s accession to #NATO will significantly strengthen the security of Baltic Sea region and all of NATO. It will be great to have such a good friend and partner sitting at the table as an Ally. Had a phone call to congratulate President Sauli @Niinisto. pic.twitter.com/IVk4FuaYDt
— Alar Karis (@AlarKaris) March 31, 2023
“Finland is now ready to join NATO. We look forward to welcoming Sweden to join us as soon as possible,” he added.
Abandoning decades of military non-alignment after the launch of Russia’s war on Ukraine in February 2022, Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO in May of the same year.
But Turkiye, a NATO member for over 70 years, asked the two Nordic countries to take concrete action against terrorist groups like the PKK in order for them to join the alliance.
In June, Finland and Sweden signed a memorandum with Turkiye to address Ankara’s security concerns, and senior diplomats and officials from the three countries have held various meetings since then to discuss implementation of the trilateral agreement.
Sweden passed an anti-terror law last November, hoping that Ankara would approve Stockholm’s bid to join NATO. The new law, which goes into force on 1 June, will allow authorities to prosecute individuals who support terrorist groups.
Turkiye said earlier this month that it would approve the process of Finland’s NATO membership in parliament. It said that Finland had done what was necessary to gain membership, while Sweden still has work to do.