President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed the Turkish parliament's decision to ratify Finland's Nato membership, several Turkish media outlets reported on Saturday. The president's final decision has been published in Turkey's official gazette.
The Turkish parliament decided late on Thursday to ratify Finland's Nato membership. The president's signature concludes Ankara's drawn-out ratification of Finnish membership, which has been pending since last summer. Under Turkish law, Erdogan had up to 15 days to sign the ratification – and he waited nearly that long to sign North Macedonia's Nato ratification in 2020.
Turkey must still deliver the document ratifying Finland's Nato membership to Washington, DC, where the original 1947 Nato treaty is stored. Once the Turkish document is in the custody of the US State Department, Finland will be a Nato member state.
Turkey has not yet said when it plans to ratify Sweden's Nato application, which was filed at the same time as Finland's last May. The decision will not take place before Turkish elections in mid-May.
Haavisto: Finland will be a member next week
The final formalities include an invitation to join from Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, upon which a Finnish representative – most likely Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) – will go to Washington to sign the letter.
On Friday evening, Haavisto told the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat that he expected the entire procedure to be completed within days, and that Finland would officially become a member next week.
He said that Hungary, which became the 29th Nato ally to approve Finnish membership last Monday, was expected to deliver its acceptance document to Washington on Friday.
"I haven't heard anything new from Hungary. The last time I spoke with Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, he said that they would make their ratification deposit in Washington on Friday morning local time. We're relying on this information," Haavisto said.
Full membership by Easter?
While campaigning in Helsinki on Saturday, Haavisto told Yle that he expects the invitation from Stoltenberg on Monday or Tuesday.
After that, a Finnish envoy will travel to Washington to deposit Finland's application documents with the US State Department.
"This is exactly what we are discussing, schedules and so on. As soon as the invitation comes from Nato, we'll see. In any case, it will be signed by the foreign minister," Haavisto said.
"If the last pieces fall into place, Finland will celebrate Easter as a new member of Nato," Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen (Cen) said in a tweet on Saturday.
13.23: Updated with confirmation of publication in gazette, other details
17.17: Updated with Haavisto and Kaikkonen comments.