Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said on Wednesday that Turkey had reached a decision on ratifying Finland’s application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip is scheduled for Friday Erdogan.
“The Turks hoped I was there to get an answer when they announced the decision. Of course I accepted the invitation,” said Niinisto in a note.
As Niinisto put it, “we learned that when Turkish President Erdogan decided, for his part, to ratify Finland’s NATO membership, he wanted to keep his promise as president to president.”
In turn, Erdogan hinted today that his country may soon ratify Finland’s request to join NATO, allowing the country to join the military alliance separately from Sweden.
Alarmed by Russia’s military operation in Ukraine a year ago, Finland and Sweden abandoned decades of non-alignment and asked to join the alliance.
All 30 NATO members accepted both their requests. And 28 members ratified their membership, while Turkey and Hungary abstained.
The Turkish government accuses Sweden of being too lenient with groups it considers terrorist organizations and existential threats, including Kurdish groups, but Ankara said it has fewer problems with Finland joining NATO.
Asked by reporters whether Turkey could ratify Finland’s membership following Finnish President Sauli Niinisto’s visit later in the week, Erdogan replied: “God willing, if that’s likely.”
He continued, “As long as the process is like this, it will do its job. We will do our part. We will keep our promise. We will meet with the president on Friday and we will keep our promise that we made.”
For his part, speaking today during a visit to the German capital Berlin on Wednesday, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Christson indicated that there have been growing indications in recent weeks that Turkey is ready to ratify Finland’s accession before the accession of the Sweden.
And he continued: “We are also ready for this situation. We do not hide at all that we preferred to ratify (the two accessions) together, to go hand in hand throughout the process. But I have also always expressed the fact that each NATO country takes its own ratification decisions and we respect Exactly so.”
The Swedish leader added that there has been “excellent progress and we think we are ready to ratify our membership, but we respect the fact that only Turkey can take Turkey’s decisions”. “Of course we hope in a rapid ratification process after the Turkish elections,” he added.
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