Turkey’s parliament has ratified Finland’s application to join NATO on Thursday. In doing so, it became the final of 30 NATO member states to support Finland’s accession, clearing the last major hurdle for the country to join the military alliance.
Lawmakers unanimously backed the Nordic country’s accession two weeks after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly blessed the bid.
“This evening, we are keeping the promises we made to Finland,” ruling party lawmaker Akif Cagatay Kilic said moments before the vote.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Turkey’s ratification, saying it will make the military alliance “stronger and safer.”
Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) border with Russia, is now only a few formalities away from becoming NATO’s 31st member. Officials expect the process to be finalized as early as next week.
Finland and its neighbour Sweden ended decades of military non-alignment and decided to join NATO last May.
Their applications were accepted at a June alliance summit that was designed to show the Western world’s desire to stand up to Russia in the face of Europe’s most grave conflict since World War II.
But the bids still needed to be ratified by all the members’ parliaments — a process that stalled with Turkey and Hungary.
Erdogan put up stiff resistance to Sweden’s candidacy because of a series of long-standing disputes.