OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 9:30 AM – Friday, March 31, 2023
Turkey’s parliament approved Finland’s NATO application on Thursday, making it the 31st nation in the Western defense alliance.
The Turkish parliament was the last out of the 30 NATO nations to approve Finland’s bid. Finland had submitted its application in 2022 alongside Sweden, after Russia invaded Ukraine. The process was delayed by Turkey due to complaints that the Nordic nation had been supporting “terrorism.”
Early in March, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that Finland secured Turkey’s approval after they had taken further steps to keep their promises to crack down on what Turkey considered to be terrorists, and to free up defense exports.
Following the Turkish vote, the Finnish government said that the membership will “improve stability and security in the Baltic Sea region and Northern Europe.”
Finland’s decision to join NATO was important to the alliance, as the country has an 832-mile border with Russia, and one of the most powerful arsenals of artillery in Europe. Previously, the nation had taken a neutral role in Europe, however, due to Russia’s invasion, the nation has decided to abandon its neutrality.
Documents approving Finland’s ratification will now be sent to the United States government in Washington D.C. which serves as the depository of NATO under its founding treaty.
When the documents are received and confirmed by the U.S. government, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will then formally invite the Nordic nation to join the alliance.
The final step of the process will require Finland to deliver its “instrument of accession,” a document which is signed by its foreign minister. When the document reaches Washington D.C. the nation will then formally become a member of NATO.
After Finland’s approval, Prime Minister Sanna Marin tweeted that Finland stands with, and supports Sweden’s application to NATO which is also being delayed by Turkey over similar concerns that they had faced.
Turkey has repeatedly said that Sweden will need to take additional steps against supporters of Kurdish militants and the members of the network. Turkey considers both groups as terrorist due to the attempted coup in 2016.
Talks between the two nations have stalled even further due to the protests by pro-Kurdish groups in Stockholm. However, Stoltenberg has urged the ratification of Sweden.
Finland’s new membership will mark the first time a nation has been approved since North Macedonia joined the alliance in 2020.
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