World

Finland has moved a step closer to becoming a NATO member after Turkey’s parliament ratified its accession to the alliance.

Turkey was the last of NATO’s 30 members to accept Finland’s application, which was submitted in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

President Erdogan 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 defence exports.

However, Turkey is still blocking the approval of Sweden Joining NATO, with the government saying Stockholm has so far failed to sufficiently crackdown on similar groups.

Finland and Sweden asked to join the trans-Atlantic military alliance last year in response to Putin’s war.

Finland’s membership would represent the first enlargement since North Macedonia joined the alliance in 2020.

Turkey has repeatedly said that Sweden needed to take additional steps against supporters of Kurdish militants and
members of the network it holds responsible for a 2016 coup attempt.

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Ankara treats both groups as terrorist organisations.

Talks between Sweden and Turkey have made little progress, especially following several disputes mainly over street
protests by pro-Kurdish groups in Stockholm.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said he had urged Turkey and Hungary to ratify both applications. A vote on Sweden’s bid has not yet been scheduled in Hungary.

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