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Turkey accepts Finland’s NATO application 

The final barrier has been overcome as Turkey accepts Finland’s NATO application. Sweden is still on hold. 

After months of delays, Turkey has finally granted Finland’s request to join NATO. Nevertheless, Ankara is still preventing Sweden from joining the military alliance. 

The final obstacle in the accession process was removed on Thursday when the Turkish Parliament voted overwhelmingly in support of Finland’s membership. 

Finland’s membership in the defense alliance is now official, as promised by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Although Hungary only done so on Monday, Turkey was the final NATO member to ratify Finland’s membership. 

Sauli Niinisto, the president of Finland, declared in a statement following the vote that his nation is “today ready to join NATO.” 

The membership of Finland has now been approved by all 30 NATO members. I want to thank each and every one of them for their confidence in and assistance,” he added. Finland will be an ally that is capable and dedicated to the Alliance’s security. 

The Finnish president continued, “We welcome Sweden to join us as soon as possible.” 

The choice was praised by Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO. “I applaud the Grand National Assembly’s decision to finalize the approval of Finland’s admission in Turkey. According to Stoltenberg’s tweet, this will make the entire NATO family safer & stronger. 

In order to avoid upsetting Moscow, Finland and Sweden have long pledged their non-alignment with NATO. Nevertheless, things changed when Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his forces into Ukraine and compelled the two Scandinavian nations to reevaluate their neutrality.

The vast majority of NATO nations approved their applications in a matter of weeks, welcoming them. Two nations, Turkey and Hungary, started to slow down the process, nevertheless. 

NATO maintains an open-door policy, which means that any country that expresses interest can be invited to join as long as it can and is ready to uphold the values of the alliance’s founding treaty. Each member state, however, has the right to block a new nation from entering under the accession regulations. 

Erdogan charged Finland and Sweden with harboring Kurdish “terrorist organizations,” while Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, charged that they were disseminating “outright lies” about the status of the rule of law in his nation. 

Finland was allowed to join earlier this month after Turkey and Hungary eventually changed their minds about it. But for the time being, they continue to be hostile to Sweden joining. 

On Monday, Finland’s application was approved by the Hungarian Parliament 182 to 6. Before Sweden’s application to join NATO is approved by the nation, according to Zoltán Kovács, spokesman for the Hungarian government, “an appropriate quantity of grievances need to be resolved.” 

Kovács claimed in a blog post that the two nations’ relations “had been worn down over years,” making it harder to bridge the gap. 

In order to move forward, “we see the necessity to clear the air with Sweden,” he continued. 

Turkish opposition to Sweden’s accession also seems unwavering. Erdoan has previously stated that Turkey will not consent to Sweden joining NATO unless Sweden extradites “terrorists” at Turkey’s request. Sweden has made it plain that won’t happen, so the procedure is currently stalled. 

Turkey is a strong NATO member, having the second-largest military in the alliance behind the United States. It is an essential member of the alliance tactically because of its location on the alliance’s southeast flank. It serves as a barrier between the West and many Middle Eastern countries with a history of political unrest and where Western states have significant interests. Its influence is increased by the fact that it became a member of the alliance in 1952, barely three years after it was established. 

Under Erdogan’s direction, nevertheless, the nation has evolved into a somewhat problematic member. 

Erdogan has differed with NATO members on a number of subjects, including Syria and Libya, and he rejected the selection of Denmark’s Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO’s leader until then-US President Barack Obama promised that one of Rasmussen’s deputy would be a Turk. 

Nonetheless, both in terms of security and political influence, Turkey has benefited from its membership in the alliance.

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