Monday March 20, 2023
President to visit Turkey to discuss NATO bid, see quake hit areas
Published : 15 Mar 2023, 11:56
Updated : 15 Mar 2023, 13:16
President Sauli Niinistö will make a working visit to Turkey from March 16 to March 17, said the President Office in a press release on Wednesday.
At the beginning of the trip, Niinistö will visit the area affected by the earthquake in south-eastern Turkey.
On Friday, the President will meet with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul.
In addition to the reconstruction after the earthquake, the discussions will focus on the geopolitical situation, bilateral relations between Finland and Turkey and Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO memberships.
President’s delegation will include Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto.
Earlier on March 9, a trilateral meeting between Finland, Sweden and Turkey held in Brussels failed to find out any significant progress regarding ratification of NATO accession protocols for Finland and Sweden.
In January this year Turkey postponed trilateral meeting with Finland, Sweden on their NATO bids following the burning of a copy of the Quran in Sweden.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on February 1 said, Turkey will not approve Sweden's bid to join NATO as long as it continues to allow Quran-burning protests, adding his country looks positively on Finland's application for membership.
Turkey is demanding concrete Finnish and Swedish actions to address Turkish security concerns over extraditing hostile groups members before it unblocks their accession into NATO.
Another country Hungary did not ratify the membership yet, although Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on November 2 assured President Sauli Niinistö that his country will ratify Finland´s NATO accession protocol.
Finland and Sweden submitted the NATO membership applications in May.
Their accession procedure officially started in early July after 30 NATO members, including Turkey signed accession protocols.
So far 28 countries out of total 30 ratified the NATO accession protocols for Finland and Sweden.
The countries ratified the membership protocols are USA, Italy, Canada, Estonia, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, United Kingdom, Albania, Poland, Latvia, Slovenia, Croatia, The Netherlands, Luxemburg, Bulgaria, Germany, Romania, Lithuania, Montenegro, Belgium, North Macedonia, France, Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Slovakia.
In late June, the Foreign Ministers of Finland, Sweden and Turkey signed a trilateral memorandum which confirms that Turkey will support the Finland´s and Sweden´s NATO membership applications.