Ankara : The Turkish Parliament on Thursday voted unanimously in favor of Finland's application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), clearing the last hurdle in the accession process, while also continuing to block Sweden from joining the military alliance, CNN reported.
The vote in the Parliament fulfills Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's "promise" to allow Finland to become part of the military alliance, as per the news report. Turkey was the last NATO member to approve Finland's accession. Following the vote, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said his country is "ready to join NATO." He further said, "All 30 NATO members have now ratified Finland's membership. I want to thank every one of them for their trust and support," according to CNN report.
Sauli Niinisto stressed that "Finland will be a strong and capable ally, committed to the security of the Alliance." As per the news report, he said, "We look forward to welcoming Sweden to join us as soon as possible."
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the decision of Turkey. Taking to his official Twitter handle, Stoltenberg stated, "I welcome the vote of the Grand National Assembly of #Turkiye to complete the ratification of #Finland's accession. This will make the whole #NATO family stronger & safer."
In 2022, Finland and Sweden submitted applications to join NATO. A majority of NATO members welcomed the applications of Finland and Sweden except for Turkey and Hungary.
Turkish President Erdogan accused Finland and Sweden of housing Kurdish "terrorist organizations." Meanwhile, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that Finland and Sweden were disseminating "outright lies" about his country's rule of law record, as per the CNN report.
Later, the two nations softened their stance on Finland's accession. However, Hungary and Turkey continue to remain opposed to Sweden becoming part of NATO.
On Monday, the Hungarian Parliament voted 182 to six in favour of Finland's application. On Wednesday, Hungarian government spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs said there was "an ample amount of grievances that need to be addressed" before Sweden's bid to join NATO would be approved by Hungary.