Turkey approves Finland’s NATO membership
Sweden, however, has yet to receive support from Ankara.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Friday that Ankara will sign off on Finland’s NATO membership — removing the biggest barrier to Finland joining the alliance, but leaving Sweden’s bid languishing.
“We have decided to initiate the ratification process in our parliament,” the Turkish leader said in a press conference in Istanbul alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.
Erdoğan’s move will inevitably fuel concerns about the alliance’s cohesion as Sweden — which was originally invited to join together with Finland — is being left behind at the moment.
Ankara has expressed concerns about arms exports and the countries’ support for Kurdish groups, prompting months of negotiations with Finland and Sweden.
But despite policy changes, Turkey still has quibbles with Sweden and continues blocking Stockholm’s process.
On Friday, Erdoğan lauded Helsinki for taking “authentic and concrete steps” while criticizing Sweden for not handing over people wanted by Turkey.
“With Finland’s membership, NATO will become stronger,” the Turkish president said, adding that talks with Stockholm will go on.
This story is developing.