Türkiye has decided to begin the process of ratifying Finland's NATO membership, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday, stressing what he said were concrete steps by Helsinki to address Ankara's concerns, AzVision.az reports citing the Turkish media.
The announcement came after Erdoğan met his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto for talks in the capital Ankara, a day after the latter visited Türkiye's southeastern region that was struck by devastating earthquakes last month.
Finland's bid for accession to the NATO alliance dominated the agenda of the two leaders' meeting, Erdoğan told a news conference alongside Niinisto.
"We have decided to start the protocol of Finland's accession to NATO in our Parliament," he said, citing the country's efforts to keep its promises as part of a memorandum that was inked in Madrid last June.
Erdoğan expressed hopes Finland's NATO membership would be ratified before presidential and parliamentary elections, which are set for May 14.
For his part, Niinisto welcomed Türkiye's plan.
"We understood earlier on that you had made your decision and signing it today confirms that the Turkish Parliament will start to work with the ratification of Finnish membership," he said.
"It is surely, for all of Finland, very important," Niinisto noted.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan noted Türkiye is not ready to approve Sweden's bid yet, saying Sweden has not responded positively to Ankara's extradition requests for terrorists and has embraced them.
"Türkiye will continue to hold discussions with Sweden on terrorism-related issues, Stockholm's NATO membership will directly rely on their measures," he said.