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Turkin presidentti Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey's parliament voted to accept Finland as a Nato member, but President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan still has to sign the bill into law. Picture: Adem Altan / AFP

Leaders welcome Turkey Nato approval

A number of leaders and decision makers reacted to the Turkish legislature's vote to ratify Finland's Nato membership bid late on Thursday night.

Egan Richardson
Mark B. Odom
Ronan Browne

Late on Thursday evening Turkey's parliament voted to ratify Finland's bid to join Nato. It was the last of the alliance's current 30 member states to do so, following a 10-month process of negotiations and delays.

In a 276-0 vote, the decision was made at just after midnight on Thursday.

Under Turkish law, Erdogan must sign the bill within 14 days. Finland's application then goes to Washington for the final signatures.

Finland and Sweden started the Nato process together last May, under the assumption that they would both be ratified relatively quickly. However, two Nato members, Hungary and Turkey have yet to approve Sweden's accession.

Greeting the Turkish parliament's move, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö tweeted that "Finland will be a strong and capable Ally, committed to the security of the Alliance."

Niinistö has said he anticipates Finland to join Nato in May.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) said "Finland stands with Sweden now and in the future and supports its application," Marin said in her tweet.

Ronan Browne

Estonia's Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas congratulated Finland in Finnish. The PM added a photo of her hugging Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin on the steps of the House of Estates in Helsinki.

"Dear Finland, welcome to Nato! The security of our region requires our cooperation and cooperation. Let's keep moving towards a safer future," Kallas tweeted.

Estonia and a number of other countries were invited to begin Nato accession talks 19 years ago this week. The other nations included Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Mark B. Odom

Speaking to Yle radio on Friday morning, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto (Green) said it is difficult to say when Finland would become a fully-fledged member of Nato.

The alliance is holding its foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on Monday, Haavisto suggested that might be the day to celebrate.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has two weeks to confirm Finland's Nato membership.

Haavisto said he hopes Sweden will also be able to join Nato as quickly as possible, hopefully before an alliance summit set to take place in Vilnius in July.

In a tweet in Finnish, Haavisto noted that the work done over the past 10-months since applying to the alliance is now complete, and that "we are living in historic days."

Mark B. Odom

Swedish politician Ann Linde, who served as Sweden's foreign minister from 2019 to 2022, welcomed the decision, adding that it was now "time to acknowledge the fact that Sweden has fulfilled its part of the trilateral memorandum and ratify also the Swedish accession."

Linde was referring to the memorandum signed by Sweden, Finland and Turkey at the Nato summit in Madrid last summer, when she was foreign minister.

Sweden's foreign minister Tobias Billström made his statement in Swedish, Finland's other official language.

"Today we rejoice with Finland. This is an important step forward for our sister country and it will contribute to both Finland and Sweden's security that they now become members of Nato," Billström tweeted.

Mark B. Odom

Nato boss welcomes vote

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the development will make the alliance stronger.

"I welcome the vote of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye to complete the ratification of Finland's accession. This will make the whole Nato family stronger & safer," the Nato chief said on Twitter.

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