Turkish parliament ratifies Finland's NATO membership protocol: Deputy Speaker
Istanbul: The Grand National Assembly of Turkey ratified the protocol on Finland's membership in NATO, Deputy Speaker Haydar Akar said.
"For the ratification of the protocol on Finland's accession to NATO - 276 votes, the proposal was accepted. Congratulations to Finland and its citizens," Akar said.
Later in the day, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto commented on the ratification of Helsinki's NATO bid by Turkey and expected Sweden to enter the alliance as fast as possible.
"All 30 NATO members have now ratified Finland’s membership. I want to thank every one of them for their trust and support. Finland will be a strong and capable Ally, committed to the security of the Alliance. Finland is now ready to join NATO. We look forward to welcoming Sweden to join us as soon as possible," Niinisto said on Twitter.
March 30, 2023
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted that Finland’s accession to the bloc will make NATO "stronger and safer."
"I welcome the vote of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey to complete the ratification of Finland’s accession," Stoltenberg said on Twitter.
Finland and Sweden applied to become NATO members in May 2022, three months after Russia started its special military operation in Ukraine.
However, Sweden's bid to join NATO has not yet been ratified by Turkey and Hungary.
The accession process came to a standstill in January 2023 following Quran-burning incidents in Sweden, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying that Stockholm should not count on Ankara's support for its NATO bid.
At the same time, Turkish officials have repeatedly stated that NATO's doors were not closed to Sweden, but the accession process and its speed were completely dependent on Stockholm's next steps.
(With UNI inputs)