Holdout Turkey Approves Finland Joining NATO

Sweden, which applied at the same time, is still waiting
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2023 6:35 PM CDT
Turkey Clears Finland for NATO Membership
Turkish lawmakers vote in favor of Finland's bid to join NATO late Thursday in Ankara. All 276 lawmakers present voted unanimously in favor of Finland's bid.   (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Turkey on Thursday endorsed Finland's pending membership in NATO on a parliamentary vote, removing the last obstacle to the security alliance's expansion. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had come out in support of the move, but he has not yet said Sweden—which applied to NATO on the same day—has met his conditions, the Washington Post reports. Hungary now has taken the same stance, saying it wants time to consider its grievances against Sweden. Finland tweeted its support for Sweden, its neighbor, on Thursday while thanking all NATO countries for their support. "As allies, we will give and receive security," the post says. "We will defend each other."

Finland's victory is a loss for Russia and President Vladimir Putin, diplomatically and strategically, the New York Times notes. The addition will double the length of NATO's land border with Russia and install NATO firmly in northern Europe. With access to Finland, NATO will be in a better position to defend the Baltic nations and the Arctic, said a security expert in Finland. Geographically, said retired US Gen. James G. Stavridis, Finland's "addition to the alliance adds a huge, difficult-to-defend border that complicates Putin's calculus." It's a "huge plus for NATO," he added. On Wednesday, the Russian Embassy in Sweden threatened Finland and Sweden with military retaliation if they become NATO members. (More NATO stories.)

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