May 30, 2023 14:19 (IST)
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Turkish vote clears Finland's path to NATO membership Finland
Representative image of Finland capital Helsinki

Turkish vote clears Finland's path to NATO membership

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 31 Mar 2023, 11:19 pm

The Turkish parliament Thursday gave its unanimous approval of Finland's entry into NATO, thereby enabling Helsinki to become a member of the military alliance. However, this decision leaves Sweden excluded from joining.

In a matter of days, Finland may officially become a member of NATO.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö tweeted, “All 30 NATO members have now ratified Finland’s membership." "Finland will be a strong and capable Ally, committed to the security of the Alliance,” he said.

"We look forward to welcoming Sweden to join us as soon as possible," the tweet further read.

After being delayed for several months, the Turkish vote on the matter took place in Ankara just minutes before midnight.

Finland and Sweden initially applied for membership last May, prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And while the two countries were formally invited to join the alliance last summer, both Turkey and Hungary have been stalling on ratifying their memberships.

Despite striking a deal with Helsinki and Stockholm that led to policy changes, Ankara expressed concerns about the support of Kurdish groups and restrictions on arms exports by both countries.

However, while Finland was given the green light for membership, Ankara chose to delay Sweden's approval.

Hungary has ratified Finland's membership, but a vote on Sweden is yet to be scheduled.

Following the ratification of its membership by the NATO member states, Finland will receive a formal invitation from the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, after which it will provide the U.S. with its instrument of accession.

Upon receiving this, the U.S. will issue a statement acknowledging that Finland is now a member of the North Atlantic Treaty.

“This,” Stoltenberg tweeted, “will make the whole NATO family stronger & safer.”