Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said today, Wednesday, that Turkey has reached a decision on ratifying Finland’s application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and he is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday.
“The Turks were hoping that I would be there to receive a response when they announced the decision. Of course I accepted the invitation,” Niinisto said in a statement.
As Niinisto said, “We learned that when Turkish President Erdogan decided, for his part, to ratify Finland’s accession to NATO, he wanted to fulfill his promise from president to president.”
In turn, Erdogan hinted today that his country may soon ratify Finland’s request to join NATO, allowing the country to join the military alliance separately from Sweden.
Alarmed by Russia’s military operation in Ukraine a year ago, Finland and Sweden abandoned decades of non-alignment and applied to join the coalition.
All 30 NATO members agreed to both of their requests. And 28 members ratified their accession, while Turkey and Hungary abstained from doing so.
A meeting between Finland, Sweden and Turkey last November regarding accession to NATO
The Turkish government accuses Sweden of being too lenient with groups it considers terrorist organizations and existential threats, including Kurdish groups, but Ankara has said it has fewer problems with Finland’s NATO membership.
Asked by reporters if Turkey could ratify Finland’s membership after Finnish President Sauli Niinisto’s visit later in the week, Erdogan replied: “God willing, if it is likely.”
He continued, “As long as the process is like this, it will do its work. We will do our part. We will fulfill our promise. We will meet with the president on Friday and fulfill our promise that we made.”
For his part, speaking during a visit to the German capital Berlin today, Wednesday, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Christson indicated that there have been increasing indications in recent weeks that Turkey is ready to ratify Finland’s membership before Sweden’s membership.
He continued, “We are ready for this situation as well.. We do not hide at all that we preferred to ratify (the two memberships) together, to go through the whole journey hand in hand. But I also always expressed the fact that each country in NATO takes its own ratification decisions and we respect Exactly so.”
The Swedish leader added that there had been “very good progress, and we think we are ready to ratify our membership, but we respect that only Turkey can make Turkey’s decisions.” “Of course we hope for a quick ratification process after the Turkish elections,” he added.