The “NATO membership train is moving” – as one Friday headline out of Europe states enthusiastically, after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Turkey will ratify Finland’s NATO membership application prior to the Turkish elections in May.
Erdogan said in a Friday press briefing while standing alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinisto the he’s asked Turkey’s parliament to approve ratification. However, it also became clear that Sweden’s bid will not be approved.
JUST IN: Turkey to greenlight Finland’s NATO membership bid. “We have decided to initiate the ratification process in our parliament”, Turkish President Erdogan said after meeting his Finnish counterpart Niinisto in Ankara. Ratification expected soon, before TR elections in May. pic.twitter.com/kEFbu2VE66
— Julia Hahn (@juliahahntv) March 17, 2023
“We have decided to start the protocol of Finland’s accession to NATO in our parliament,” Erdogan said following a meeting with his Finnish counterpart.
Concerning Sweden, Erdogan commented that his country submitted a list of 120 “terrorists” to Stockholm, but complained that not a single one of them has been extradited.
Sweden’s membership bid is expected to continue to stall, after deteriorating relations with Turkey in the wake of the Quran-burning incident by a far-right activist. Turkey has also demanded Swedish authorities crackdown on Kurdish political groups and operatives while alleging that Stockholm has hosted “terrorists” on its soil.
Finland is at the same time building a 200km fence along its border with Russia to boost security, also after reporting that Russian men fled into Sweden by the droves in order to escape conscription. The fence will reportedly be 10 feet high and topped with barbed wire.