NATO: Finnish President in Ankara looking for Turkish green light

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, whose country has been knocking on NATO’s door for ten months, is due to meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Friday, hoping to get the green light for his entry into the Atlantic alliance.

Mr Niinisto had assured on Wednesday that Turkey, a NATO member for half a century, would announce its decision on Friday regarding Finland’s application for membership.

“I will go [à Ankara] receive an expression of their intentions,” he said in a statement.

Turkey’s president, who has blocked Finland and Sweden from May 2022, indicated earlier on Wednesday that he would respond favorably to a “promise” made in Helsinki to join the alliance.

“On Friday we will meet the President [finlandais] And do what we promise, ”Erdogan said.

Meeting between Messrs. Erdogan and Niinisto, who on Thursday traveled to the Turkish province of Kahramanmaras, the epicenter of the devastating February 6 earthquake, should begin at around 2:30 am (11:30 GMT).

If Mr Erdogan gives his blank cheque, it will be up to Turkey’s parliament to ratify Finland’s application to join the Atlantic Alliance, which was submitted jointly with Sweden last year as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. it was done.

Finland shares over 1,300 km of land border with Russia.

– Double ballot –

The date of the Turkish parliament vote is not known, the question remains whether it will take place before or after Turkey’s presidential and legislative elections on 14 May.

Turkey’s parliament is expected to suspend its work about a month before the double ballot.

Even if Hungary were to ratify Finland’s application for membership, Turkey’s green light would open the way for Finland’s entry into NATO.

The other 28 member states of the alliance have ratified the membership application of the two Nordic countries, which must be approved unanimously.

Things are much more complicated for Sweden, on the other hand, focused on Ankara’s objections.

Turkey specifically accuses Stockholm of being inactive in the face of Kurdish “terrorists” who have taken refuge in Sweden. And in January the process was stalled by the burning of a copy of the Koran in Sweden.

The Turkish president indicated on 29 January that Finland might join the alliance alone.

On Tuesday, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Christerson also admitted that the likelihood of his neighbor joining NATO had recently “increased” before Sweden.

Mr. Christerson, however, is hopeful of completing his country’s admission to the alliance before the next NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July.

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