- Russia's foreign ministry had earlier criticized Finland's decision, saying it was rash and based on Russophobic hysteria.
- Russia's invasion of Ukraine has changed the way Finns think in a big way. In the spring of last year, support for joining NATO went from a disappointing one-third of Finns to almost 80% almost overnight.
Turkey held up Finland’s request to join the West’s defensive alliance for months because it said the Nordic country was supporting “terrorists.”
Sweden applied to join NATO at the same time as Turkey in May of last year, but Ankara has still not let it in.
Any NATO expansion needs the support of all of its members.
Finland will now be officially added to NATO at its next summit, which will take place in July in Lithuania. Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter, “I look forward to raising Finland’s flag at Nato HQ in the coming days. Together, we are stronger and safer.”
In a statement after the Turkish vote, the Finnish government said that joining the alliance would make the country safer and improve stability and security in the region.
“As allies, we will give and receive security and protect each other. Finland stands with Sweden now and in the future and supports its application,” Prime Minister Sanna Marin wrote on Twitter.
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gave his approval to Finland’s bid earlier this month. He praised the country’s “real and concrete steps” on Turkish security.
But it was clear that he still didn’t like Sweden, as he again accused the country of being friendly to Kurdish militants and letting them march in the streets of Stockholm.
Ankara’s decision to ratify Finland’s membership in NATO makes way for one of the most important events in NATO’s recent history.
Finland, a country that has a 1,340km (832 mile) border with Russia and one of the most powerful artillery arsenals in Western Europe, is giving up its neutrality and joining the alliance in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Sweden also broke a long-term promise to stay neutral when it asked to join NATO, but unlike its neighbor, it does not share a border with Russia.
One of Nato’s founding principles is the principle of collective defense. This means that an attack on one member country is treated as an attack on them all.
For Russian President Vladimir Putin, Finland’s membership is a major strategic setback.
He sent his army into Ukraine last year with the hope that it would stop NATO from growing and weaken the West. In fact, it has had the exact opposite effect.
Finland is about to become the seventh NATO country on the Baltic Sea. This will cut off Russia’s access to the coast at St. Petersburg and on its small exclave of Kaliningrad.
Russia’s foreign ministry had earlier criticized Finland’s decision, saying it was rash and based on Russophobic hysteria.
But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed the way Finns think in a big way. In the spring of last year, support for joining NATO went from a disappointing one-third of Finns to almost 80% almost overnight.
Finland just thinks it has a better chance of not being attacked by Russia if it joins the alliance.