After months of blockades, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has finally approved Finland’s planned entry into NATO. The ratification process will be initiated in parliament, Erdogan said in Ankara on Friday. Meanwhile, there was also the green light from Hungary.
Erdogan called on the Turkish parliament to approve Finland’s bid to join NATO. Turkey has “decided to start the process of Finland’s NATO accession in our parament,” he said after meeting Finnish President Sauli Niinistö in Ankara. This means that Finland’s admission could be ratified by parliament before the elections in Turkey on May 14. The Hungarian parliament will also ratify Finland’s accession shortly – on March 27. This was announced by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s party on Friday afternoon. Máté Kocsis, leader of Fidesz’s parliamentary group, wrote on his Facebook page that the group would “decide on Sweden later”. Finland and Sweden had applied for NATO membership around ten months ago under the impression of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. 28 of the 30 current members of the western military alliance have ratified their accession protocols, only Hungary and Turkey not yet. Ankara is blocking the accession, among other things, with reference to an insufficient fight against “terrorist organizations” among the NATO candidates. This means above all the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK. The objections are primarily aimed at Sweden. No “hand in hand” accession Since the application was submitted in May 2022, Sweden and Finland have repeatedly emphasized that they want to be admitted to NATO at the same time and “hand in hand”. However, the Turkish blockade, which intensified after several Islamophobic protests in Stockholm at the beginning of the year, has greatly complicated this parallel step. It has therefore been rumored for some time that Turkey would first agree to Finland joining NATO and that Sweden could then follow suit at a later date.