Turkey accepts Finland into NATO and moves the geopolitical table

Turkey gave the green light to Finland's NATO membership on Friday.

Turkey gave the green light to Finland’s NATO membership on Friday.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Friday that he is giving the green light for Finland to join NATO, a request that has been in effect for more than five months since Helsinki. The Turkish president made these statements at a press conference in Ankara together with his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinistö. “We will start the process of transferring to Parliament the protocol of Finland’s accession to NATO,” Erdogan said, adding that he hopes the process can be completed before the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for May 14.

Erdogan said that he has “signed the protocol” and assured that he will continue negotiations with Sweden on its possible annexation to the military treaty.

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According to the NATO statutes, the 30 countries that make up the Organization must agree to accept a new member. This is established in Article 10, which states that to allow the entry of a foreign State there must be a “unanimous agreement […] between the parties (countries)”. However, Turkey has been the only member of this body that has refused to give the go-ahead (veto) for Sweden and Finland to become a NATO member country.

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“Security and defense organizations require a degree of legitimacy higher than a simple majority for decision-making,” explained Rafael Piñeros, a political scientist in January of this year.

“The entry of a new member requires unanimity. The blockade by a member (of NATO) is enough to restrict the entry of a new member […] It doesn’t matter if in this case it’s Sweden, Finland or whatever”, says Piñeros.

The invasion of Vladimir Putin’s troops in the Ukrainian Donbass region last year set off alarm bells in Sweden and Finland, whose governments launched their aspiration to join NATO, in preparation for the possible effects of the Kremlin’s military might. .

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who “praised” Erdogan’s announcement, considered that “the most important thing is that Finland and Sweden quickly become full members of NATO, and not that they join at exactly the same time.” .

Finland, inside; Sweden on hold

“Turkey is one of the biggest supporters of NATO’s open door policy. We have seen that Finland has taken sincere steps to fulfill the promises contained in the Madrid tripartite memorandum (signed last July),” Erdogan said.

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He added that Ankara has seen the need to separate the Swedish process from the Finnish one, by not attending Stockholm to the Turkish demands to extradite people that Turkey considers linked to terrorist organizations, especially from the Kurdish sphere.

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“We are not against Sweden. But Sweden has opened its arms to the terrorists, it has opened its streets to them. I told the prime minister of Sweden to send us 120 terrorists. Since they have not been given to us, we cannot have a positive stance for them. In Finland, that does not happen and therefore our position is positive,” Erdogan said. Niinistö thanked his host for the gesture, but recalled that Sweden must also join the Alliance.

“With the signatures placed today, the Turkish Parliament begins the ratification process. Thank you so much. We have a neighbor that is Sweden and Finland’s entry into NATO cannot be complete without Sweden”, said the Finnish president.

Finland, subjected to enforced neutrality by Moscow after its confrontation with the Soviet Union during World War II, shares a 1,340 km border with Russia.

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Hungary, the last obstacle

Turkey was not the only government that opposed the entry of both Nordic countries into NATO. For its part, Hungary rejected both Helsinki and Stockholm becoming members of the alliance. However, the Hungarian Parliament assured that on March 27 it will hold votes to approve Finland’s candidacy to the Organization.

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“The Fidesz group supports Finland’s accession to NATO. The parliamentary vote will take place on March 27”, announced the Secretary of State for Communication, Zoltán Kovács.

Hungary had several times delayed the debate and the possible parliamentary vote on the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO. The Hungarian prime minister, the ultranationalist Viktor Orbán, assured at the end of February that, although he supports integration, both Sweden and Finland “have spread lies” about the situation of democracy and the rule of law in Hungary.

Last week, a delegation from Fidesz, which has ruled with an absolute majority for 13 years, traveled to Sweden and Finland to discuss this issue.

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