March 17, 2023 14:39 GMT
Erdogan-Finland Ratification Process To Start, Talks Continue w/Sweden
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Speaking following a meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan states that he has 'decided to start [the] process to ratify Finland's NATO membership bid in parliament.' On Sweden's application Erdogan states that he 'will continue discussions on terrorism-related issues...[Sweden's bid] will directly rely on their measures.'
- Erdogan: 'Finland has taken concrete steps to keep [its] promises...Finland will play an active role in NATO.' Niinisto says that it is 'very good to hear this news.'
- The two Nordic nations had been due to join NATO together, but given the continued difficulties in Sweden's accession it seems the dial is leaning towards solo entries into the alliance.
- The move will be welcomed by the US and EU, which have been seeking to impress on Ankara the importance in bringing Finland (and Sweden) into the alliance, especially given Finland's sizeable land border with Russia.
- Turkey's ratification will leave Hungary as the only NATO state that has not ratified/in the process of ratifying Finland's accession bid. Finland holds its general election on 2 April, and an acceleration in the accession process could provide a boost to PM Sanna Marin's Social Democrats in a close campaign.