A+ A-

NATO chief welcomes Turkiye's decision to ratify Finland's membership

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
BRUSSELS, March 17 (KUNA) -- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Friday welcomed Turkiye's decision to move ahead with the ratification of Finland's membership in NATO.
"This will strengthen Finland's security, it will strengthen Sweden's security, and it will strengthen NATO's security. I hope that the Turkish Grand National Assembly will vote to ratify as soon as possible," Stoltenberg said in a statement.
"At a critical time for our security, this will make our Alliance stronger and safer," he said.
Stoltenberg said last year's decision to invite both Finland and Sweden has fundamentally strengthened their relationship with NATO.
"The most important thing is that both Finland and Sweden become full members of NATO quickly, not whether they join at exactly the same time," Stoltenberg said.
NATO chief said he looks forward to a rapid conclusion of the accession process, and to welcoming both Finland and Sweden to the NATO family as full members as soon as possible.
According to media reports, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey would start the process of ratifying Finland's NATO membership bid in parliament.
He added that the country had taken "sincere and concrete steps" to allay Turkiye's concerns about Finland hosting Kurds and other opposition forces who fled Turkey.
"We have decided to start the protocol of Finland's accession to NATO in our parliament," Erdogan told a news conference following talks with visiting Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in Ankara.
Erdogan also said Turkiye would continue discussions with Sweden on terrorism issues and noted that Sweden's NATO membership would depend on measures taken by Sweden.
Ankara accuses Sweden of hosting Kurdish groups that are linked with terror attacks against Turkiye. (end) nk.hm