Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen (Centre) was photographed in Helsinki on 9 March 2023. Kaikkonen on Wednesday told YLE that Finland has a permission on Friday to wait for a confirmation that Turkey is prepared to ratify its bid to join Nato. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)


MINISTER of Defence Antti Kaikkonen (Centre) stated on YLE A-studio on Wednesday that Finland is close to acceding to Nato.

President Sauli Niinistö indicated on Twitter earlier yesterday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made his decision about the membership application and intends to “fulfil his promises directly from one president to another” as the two heads of state meet in Turkey on Friday.

“The Turks have wished that I’m in attendance to welcome the response as they announce the decision. I've naturally responded positively to the invitation [to visit] and will receive their statement of intent,” he wrote.

The news is encouraging, said Kaikkonen.

“I’d say that we have permission on Friday to wait for a confirmation that Turkey can make its ratification,” he commented to the public broadcasting service.

Turkey and Hungary are the only members of the 30-country defence alliance that have yet to ratify the membership applications of Finland and Sweden. The applications were submitted in May 2022, a couple of months after Russia began its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Both Reuters and Helsingin Sanomat have reported that Turkey intends to ratify the Finnish application before the parliamentary elections in May.

Hungary, in turn, has communicated that it does not plan to be the last country to ratify the applications. After his last week’s meeting with Hungarian Minister of Defence Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, Kaikkonen believes Hungary could ratify the Finnish membership application as soon as by the end of the month.

Kaikkonen emphasised, though, that the decision of neither country is yet certain.

“It’s certain once the gavel has fallen in both countries,” he said.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT