NATO chief says the alliance will get ‘stronger’ with Finland’s accession
Brussels, Mar 31 (EFE).- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has welcomed the Turkish parliament’s ratification of Finland’s accession to the military alliance, saying it would make the bloc “stronger and safer.”
“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,” Stoltenberg tweeted.
The Turkish parliament on Thursday ratified Finland’s application to join NATO, becoming the last of the 30 member states to support the expansion of the alliance.
The Turkish ratification clears the last major hurdle for Finland to join the military alliance.
The Turkish parliament adopted the bill to accept Finnish entry into the defense pact with the votes of all 276 lawmakers present.
It effectively means that nothing now impedes Helsinki’s joining NATO given that Turkey was the only country that still had not agreed to allow the Scandinavian nation with a long land border with Russia to become part of the alliance.
The government and opposition lawmakers welcomed the move in a non-partisan stand.
However, Turkey continues to hold Sweden’s bid to join the alliance as Ankara wants Stockholm to address security-related issues and act against groups that it considers terrorist organizations.
Turkey, holding presidential elections on May 14, accuses Stockholm of protecting members of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party and demands their extradition before ratifying its NATO membership.
Stoltenberg told Politico on Thursday that Sweden could still become a NATO member by summer.
“My aim remains that after the Turkish elections, but before the Vilnius summit, we can also have the ratification of Sweden,” he said, referencing the alliance’s annual gathering on July 11.
Finland and Sweden, hitherto neutral, asked to join the alliance last year after they felt their security was threatened following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. EFE