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Turkish parliamentary commission approves Finland's NATO membership

March 24, 2023 at 10:44 am

A press conference following NATO-hosted talks with Finland, Turkiye and Sweden in Brussels, Belgium on June 20, 2022 [Dursun Aydemir – Anadolu Agency]

The Turkish parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission yesterday approved a bill that ratifies Finland’s bid to join NATO.

Deputy Foreign Minister Burak Akcapar briefed parliamentarians on the proposed bill.

“We believe that Finland’s membership will strengthen the NATO alliance, contribute to the burden-sharing of the alliance against threats, contribute to NATO’s deterrence, regional security and our determination in the fight against terrorism. We consider that our alliance with Finland will also contribute to the development of our bilateral relations,” Akcapar said.

Finland and Sweden submitted applications to join NATO last May, however Turkiye set conditions on their entry, claiming they harbour what Ankara says are militants from the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984.

Sweden and Finland have undertaken concrete commitments,  Akcapar said, adding the commitments include support for Turkiye’s fight against terrorism and the removal of the restrictions imposed on Ankara concerning defence industry products.

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“From the beginning of this process, Finland was more prepared and determined to meet the sensitivity and expectations of our country,” he added.

Finland has shown its will and determination in the fight against terrorism both in regulation and in practice, he said.

Noting that restrictions in the field of the defence industry have been lifted, he said Turkish defence industry companies are in close cooperation with Finnish companies today.

Last June, Finland and Sweden signed a memorandum with Turkiye to address Ankara’s security concerns, and senior diplomats and officials from the three countries have held various meetings since then to discuss the implementation of the trilateral agreement.

Among the NATO member states, only Hungary and Turkiye have not yet ratified Sweden and Finland’s applications for inclusion in NATO.

Sweden passed an anti-terror law last November, hoping that Ankara would approve Stockholm’s bid to join the NATO alliance. The new law, which will go into force on 1 June, will allow Swedish authorities to prosecute individuals who support terrorist organisations.

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