Finland on home straight to NATO as Turkey greenlights accession

Finns on Thursday welcomed the prospect of NATO membership, as Turkey’s parliament voted to ratify Finland’s membership bid even as it keeps Sweden’s application on hold.

The Turkish parliament was the last among the 30 members of the alliance to ratify Finland’s membership after Hungary’s legislature approved a similar bill earlier this week.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said earlier in March that Finland had secured Turkey’s blessing after taking concrete steps to keep promises to crack down on groups seen by Ankara as terrorists, and to free up defense exports.

The Alliance’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, congratulated Finland on Twitter. “I look forward to raising Finland’s flag at the NATO headquarters in the coming days. Together we are stronger and safer,” he wrote.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed Finland and Sweden to apply for NATO membership and abandon many decades of military non-alignment amid the fiercest stand-off between Moscow and the West since the end of the Cold War.

Finland has a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia and would roughly double the transatlantic alliance's frontier facing Moscow.