Turkey ratifies Finland NATO bid, but awaits final parliament approval

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The Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs commission approved a bill ratifying Finland’s bid to join NATO Thursday, according to state broadcaster TRT Haber. The bill is still waiting on approval from the parliament’s general assembly.

The move comes as Finnish President Sauli Niinistö formally sealed the Nordic nation’s historic bid to join the military alliance, Thursday, signing into law the required national legal amendments needed for membership of NATO.

Turkey and Hungary are the only two of NATO’s 30 existing members who haven’t ratified Finland’s bid. Admitting new countries requires unanimous approval from the alliance members, and the parliaments in Ankara and Budapest haven’t yet given the green light.

After delays of several months, the Hungarian parliament is finally expected to approve the Finnish accession into NATO on 27 March. 

Despite, backing Finland joining NATO, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held off approving Sweden’s bid. It isn’t clear either when Budapest will ratify Stockholm’s bid.

Last week Niinistö visited Ankara, where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to move forward with ratifying Finland’s application, ahead of Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 14 May.

Finland’s 200-seat Eduskunta parliament endorsed the country’s NATO bid with an overwhelming 184-7 majority at the beginning of March

Finland and neighboring Sweden applied to become NATO members 10 months ago in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, abandoning decades of nonalignment.

This is seen by many experts as one of the biggest geopolitical ramifications of Moscow’s war in Ukraine. Finland’s border with Russia runs for a total of 1,340 kilometers (832 miles).

Finland and Sweden are close partners culturally, economically and politically. They submitted their bids together and planned to join the alliance at the same time.

On Wednesday, Swedish lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of Sweden joining NATO, signing off on the country’s membership along with the required legislation.