Erdogan gives the green light to Finland’s accession to NATO

Turkey ready to vote in parliament on the ratification of Finland’s membership in NATO, President Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö, the Anadolu agency reports..

He noticed it Finland has taken “sincere and concrete steps” to resolve “Ankara’s security problems” and expressed hope that the parliament will approve its application before the elections in May in Turkey. “I am sure that Finland in the ranks of NATO will make a significant contribution to global security and stability,” Erdogan said.

As for Sweden, Turkey’s position on its membership in the alliance will depend on Stockholm’s further actions in the fight against terrorism, Erdogan stressed, adding that Ankara’s key demands have so far not been met. “We gave Swedish list of 120 terrorists. Without the extradition of these criminals to Turkey, a positive attitude towards the application for admission to NATO is impossible. The issue of fighting terrorism is a “red line” for Turkey, the president said.

Ankara accuses Stockholm of harboring members of the PKK, which it considers terrorist. In January, relations between the two countries were complicated by the burning of a Koran near the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital.

In turn, Sauli Niinistö called Turkey’s decision to support Helsinki’s candidacy “important news for all the people of Finland” and thanked Erdogan.

So far, only Hungary has not given its consent to Finland joining the alliance, its parliament will vote on the ratification on March 31. Earlier, the head of the Hungarian Defense Ministry, Christoph Salay-Bobrovnitsky, said that the government supports both countries’ intentions to join NATO, but wants them to show more respect.

Other countries in the bloc hope that Finland and Sweden will be formally admitted to the alliance at the NATO summit to be held in Vilnius on July 11.


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