By Janet Ekstract
İSTANBUL- With the Turkish parliament’s approval on Finland’s NATO bid application, Finland is set to become the 31stmember of NATO. NATO expansion needs the support of all member states and both Finland and Sweden had planned to become NATO members together. Now that both Hungary and Turkiye have given their approval on the bids, Finland will be formally admitted into NATO at the next NATO Summit in July to take place in Vilnius, Lithuania. In a recent Twitter statement, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg commented: “I look forward to raising Finland’s flag at NATO HQ in the coming days. Together we are stronger and safer.”
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lauded Finland’s bid in March, commenting on what he said were its “authentic and concrete steps” taken on Turkish security. In contrast, Erdogan was not particularly forthcoming with Sweden, accusing the Nordic country of supporting Kurdish militants and not doing enough to prevent the Koran burnings and demonstrations in Stockholm.
After the Turkish vote, the Finnish government said that joining the alliance will strengthen the country’s security and improve stability and security in the region. As Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Twitter: “As allies, we will give and receive security. We will defend each other. Finland stands with Sweden now and in the future and supports its application.” Finland’s entrance into NATO is a historical moment for the military alliance since Finland made the decision to let go of its neutral stance, in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. When the time comes for Sweden to enter NATO as Erdogan has left the door open for its entrance into NATO – Sweden will also have relinquished its decades long stance of military neutrality as well.