Türkiye is set to become the final NATO nation to approve Finland’s membership of defence alliance in the wake of Russia’s offensives on Ukraine.
The Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs commission approved a bill a week ago that ratifies Finland’s bid to join NATO.
Ratification is all but certain on Thursday after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ended months of negotiations and confirmed Finland’s candidacy earlier this month.
Türkiye’s ratification will leave Finland – which has a 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Russia – with only a few technical steps before it becomes 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.
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.
The Hungarian parliament ratified Finland’s NATO membership on Monday after months of diplomatically charged delay.
‘More determined’ than Sweden
After last week’s approval, Deputy Foreign Minister Burak Akcapar briefed the parliamentarians on the proposal of the bill.
“We believe that Finland’s membership will strengthen the NATO alliance, contribute to the burden-sharing of the alliance against threats, contribute to NATO’s deterrence, regional security and our determination in the fight against terrorism.
Reminding that Finland submitted its application to join NATO last May, he said Sweden and Finland should take care of Türkiye’s legitimate security concerns and start acting in the spirit of alliance solidarity.
Finland has shown its will and determination in the fight against terrorism both in regulation and in practice, he said.
“From the beginning of this process, Finland was more prepared and determined to meet the sensitivity and expectations of our country,” he added.
Noting that restrictions in the field of the defence industry have been lifted, he said Turkish defense industry companies are in close cooperation with Finnish companies today.
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.