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Türkiye Parliament ratifies Finland’s NATO membership

Türkiye has become the final NATO nation to ratify Finland’s membership of the defence alliance in the wake of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine.

Lawmakers on Thursday unanimously backed the Nordic country’s accession.

The Turkish Parliament was the last among the 30 members of the alliance to ratify Finland’s membership after Hungary’s legislature approved a similar bill earlier this week.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto thanked NATO’s member states for “their trust and support.”

“Finland will be a strong and capable ally, committed to the security of the alliance,” he said in a statement released on Twitter.

Türkiye’s ratification leaves Finland — which has a 1,300-kilometre border with Russia — only a few technical steps from becoming the 31st member of the world’s most powerful military bloc.

Finland and its neighbour Sweden ended decades of military non-alignment and decided to join NATO last May amid Russia’s offensive in Ukraine. 

Their applications were accepted at a June alliance summit but the bids still needed to be ratified by all the members’ parliaments — a process that stalled after political and security objections raised by Türkiye and Hungary.

‘Finland was more prepared’

Türkiye, a NATO member for over 70 years, asked the two Nordic countries to take concrete action against terrorist groups like the PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation [FETO] in order for it to join the alliance.

Last June, Finland and Sweden signed a memorandum with Türkiye to address Ankara’s security concerns, and senior diplomats and officials from the three countries have held various meetings since then to discuss the implementation of the trilateral agreement.

Meanwhile, Sweden passed an anti-terror law last November, hoping that Ankara would approve Stockholm’s bid to join the NATO alliance. 

The new law, which will go into force on June 1, will allow Swedish authorities to prosecute individuals who support terrorist organisations.

Türkiye says Finland has done what was necessary to gain membership, while Sweden still has work to do.

Finland has shown its will and determination in the fight against terrorism both in regulation and in practice, said Deputy Foreign Minister Burak Akcapar, who briefed the parliamentarians on the proposal of the bill. 

“From the beginning of this process, Finland was more prepared and determined to meet the sensitivity and expectations of our country,” he added.

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