NATO chief welcomes Türkiye move to ratify Finland membership

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on March 17 hailed Türkiye 's decision to push ahead with ratifying Finland's membership, and said Sweden should also be allowed to join "as soon as possible".

"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.

The head of the Western military alliance said Helsinki's membership "will strengthen Finland's security, it will strengthen Sweden's security, and it will strengthen NATO's security".

He called on the Turkish parliament to vote on the ratification soon.

Türkiye and Hungary are the only NATO members still to ratify the Finnish and Swedish applications, which must be accepted by all 30 existing members of the alliance.

Shortly after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had announced his decision, Hungary said that its parliament will vote on Finland's membership bid on March 27.

The Nordic neighbours dropped decades-long policies of military non-alignment and applied to join the western alliance last May in the wake of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

They initially hoped to join together after their applications were accepted at a June NATO summit.

Meanwhile, the White House also on March 17 welcomed Türkiye 's decision to move ahead with a vote on ratifying Finland's entry into the NATO alliance, but urged Ankara to do the same on Sweden's bid.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the United States now "looks forward to the prompt conclusion" of Finland's entry, which has been held up by Türkiye .

However, he added: "We encourage Türkiye to quickly ratify Sweden's accession protocols as well. In addition, we urge Hungary to conclude...

Continue reading on: