Turkey s Parliament on Thursday approved Finland’s NATO accession bid, becoming the last nation after Hungary to greenlight the Nordic country’s membership in the military bloc.
For a new country to join NATO, each of the alliance's existing members needs to give its formal approval. All 276 lawmakers present voted unanimously in favor of Finland’s bid, days after Hungary’s parliament also endorsed Finland’s accession.
In a statement released shortly after the Turkish Parliament's approval, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto thanked all NATO members for approving their membership. "Finland will be a strong and capable Ally, committed to the security of the Alliance," Niinisto said, adding that Helsinki is ready to join NATO and is looking forward to welcoming Sweden as soon as possible. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also welcomed the Turkish Parliamen'ts ratification of Finland's accession.
"I welcome the vote of the Grand National Assembly of #Turkey to complete the ratification of #Finland’s accession. This will make the whole #NATO family stronger & safer," he said.
The general assembly session started at 2 p.m. local time (1100 GMT), according to the legislative house's website. After a recent meeting in Ankara with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced they started the ratification process for Finland's admission into the alliance.
Erdoğan cited the Nordic country's efforts to keep its promises as part of the memorandum. He also expressed hope that Finland's NATO membership would be ratified before presidential and parliamentary elections, which are set for May 14.
Sweden and Finland abandoned decades of non-alignment and applied to join NATO in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. All NATO members, except Turkey and Hungary, have ratified their accession, but unanimity is required. Turkey and Hungary still have reservations about Sweden's accession and said will approve it after their concerns are addressed. /BGNES