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Niinistö: Relief after Turkey visit

Turkish President Erdogan pledged that his country would begin the process of ratifying Finland's Nato application during Finnish President Sauli Niinistö's visit to Ankara on Friday.

Sauli Niinistö Ykkösaamun studiossa ennen suoran lähetyksen alkua.
Sauli Niinistö spoke on Yle TV1's Saturday chat show, Ykkösaamu, on 18 March 2023. Image: Tommi Pylkkö / Yle
Yle News

Turkey's decision to ratify Finland's application to join Nato is a welcome "relief," Finnish President Sauli Niinistö told Yle reporters on Saturday morning.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Friday that his country would begin the ratification process during a meeting with his Finnish counterpart in Ankara.

Erdogan said that Finland had taken "authentic and concrete steps" to meet the targets set out by the tripartite deal agreed during the Madrid summit last summer.

"It is a relief, but we must remember that this is a longer process, which is still ongoing," Niinistö told Yle after returning from Turkey.

When exactly Finland officially becomes a member of the military alliance still remains unclear, according to the President.

Turkey will have to act fast if it is to complete ratification before Turkish parliamentary elections due on 14 May.

"Otherwise it will take quite a long time because of the election break," Niinistö noted.

Turkey's attitude towards Sweden's bid has meanwhile been less favourable. Erdogan said on Friday that Finland's Nordic neighbour had not yet sufficiently addressed Turkey's concerns over terrorism, adding that the dialogue was still ongoing.

The Finnish president had referenced Sweden on Friday, saying that Finland's Nato membership is not complete without Sweden also joining Nato.

Niinistö concluded that talks with Turkey had progressed in "good spirits," adding that Finland had not had to compromise on its positions in return for ratification.

Despite the ratification news optimism, Niinistö said on Saturday that the current geopolitical climate was tense and headed towards an increasingly dangerous direction.

Niinistö said that he, for example, will be following Chinese President Xi Jinping's scheduled visit to Russia next week closely.

The visit includes elements that will have global significance, according to Niinistö.

"Because now there is a lot of speculation about China's relationship with Russia. Are they thinking about supporting Russia militarily or are they already supporting [Russia] or will they support Russia in the future. In this sense, the visit is extremely interesting."

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