Finland's parliament voted overwhelmingly to allow the country to join NATO. With 184 votes in favor and seven against, the Helsinki parliamentarians approved the contractual terms of the Western military alliance.
In May 2022, Finland, which shares a long land border with Russia, and Sweden gave up decades of military non-alignment in response to the Russian attack on Ukraine and applied to join the western military alliance.
The admission of the two states requires ratification by all 30 NATO member states; Turkey and Hungary have not yet done so. In Hungary, the parliament discussed NATO expansion for the first time on Wednesday.
On behalf of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's right-wing government, State Secretary Peter Sztaray spoke in favor of ratifying the accession protocols. The vote could take place early next week. The approval of the protocols is considered secured. The left and liberal opposition also wants to vote for it.
Parliament's decision in Helsinki does not mean that Finland will automatically become a NATO member after ratification by Hungary and Turkey. However, it sets a deadline for how long Finland can wait for its neighbor Sweden.
After the parliamentary decision, President Sauli Niinistö has a maximum of three months until the signing. Niinistö had announced that he would sign the law "as soon as it was approved by Parliament". Although he could wait for "practical reasons", "but not until after the elections". Parliamentary elections will take place in Finland on April 2nd.
Turkey has so far blocked the admission of the two Nordic countries, with Ankara primarily demanding that Stockholm take a tougher stance against Kurdish activists whom Turkish authorities consider "terrorists".
He also criticized several Islamophobic actions in Stockholm, in which, among other things, a Koran was burned. Another factor in the blockade is that Turkey is currently in the election campaign ahead of early elections on May 14, which will also involve Erdogan's re-election.
However, Turkey viewed Finland's request positively, as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier in the week. "We could separate Sweden's and Finland's admission process," he said.
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