NATO chief: Finnish bid to be ratified before Turkish elections

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he was confident that Finland would become a fully-fledged member of the alliance before mid-May.

Finland will likely become an official member of Nato before Turkey’s parliamentary and presidential elections on 14 May, the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.

“Based on what has been announced both from Hungary and Turkey, the two allies that have not yet ratified the Finnish accession protocol, I expect that they can become a member before the Turkish elections,” he said.

The Nato Chief added that this was not something he could guarantee, however, as the decision ultimately rests in the hands of the national parliaments of Turkey and Hungary.

Hungary’s parliament plans to vote on Finland’s membership at a plenary session on 27 March, according to a statement by the ruling Fidesz party last week.

Speaking at a press conference presenting the alliance’s annual report for 2022, Stoltenberg also said that the Kremlin had made a big strategic mistake by invading Ukraine.

“[Russian President Vladimir Putin] wanted less Nato but he has gotten exactly the opposite; more Nato. In response to Russia’s illegal war Finland and Sweden decided to apply for Nato membership,” he said.

Stoltenberg added that the priority was not for Finland and Sweden to join at the same time, but that they both join as soon as possible, whether separately or not.

“The most important thing is that both Finland and Sweden become full Nato members quickly,” Stoltenberg said while saying he acknowledged Turkey’s concerns regarding Sweden’s accession.

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