Ankara [Turkey], March 18 (ANI): Turkey approved the process of ratifying Finland's accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, according to the Anadolu Agency.
As per the Anadolu Agency, President Erdogan at a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto in Ankara noted that Finland has fulfilled all their security concerns.
In the press conference, Erdogan said, "We have decided to launch the approval process of Finland's NATO membership protocol in our Parliament."Citing negotiations on Sweden and Finland's accession bids at the NATO Madrid summit in June 2022, Erdogan said that Turkiye is among the strong defenders of NATO's open-door policy.
The President further stated that Turkey has seen that Finland had taken concrete steps to fulfil its commitments in the tripartite memorandum which was signed at the Madrid summit in June, last year, according to Anadolu Agency.
"NATO will become stronger with Finland's membership, and I believe it will play an active role in maintaining global security and stability," Erdogan added.
He further emphasized that Turkey-Finland relations will be strengthened on the basis of the NATO alliance following the completion of the approval process.
On Sweden's process, Erdogan said that Turkey will continue its talk on the basis of the principles of the alliance and our approach to the fight against terrorism.
"I believe that our country's principles and goodwill in advancing the (NATO accession) process is now more clearly seen," he added.
Earlier, Sweden and Finland jointly applied to join NATO, but Turkey has so far blocked the expansion, citing concerns that Sweden needs to crack down on exiled Kurdish militants and their sympathisers and extradite critics of Turkish President Erdogan, reported Euronews.
In one of the meetings, Ankara gave a list of 120 people to Sweden for extradition to Turkey, President Erdogan said, "You need to extradite these terrorists so that you can enter NATO," according to the Anadolu Agency.
The joint bid by Sweden and Finland to join NATO requires the approval of all existing members, including Turkey.
Until now, the two countries have been committed to joining the alliance together, but Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto's previous comment suggests that this may no longer be the case. (ANI)