Turkey Set to Approve Finland’s NATO Membership on Thursday

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(Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s parliament will vote to approve Finland’s membership in NATO on Thursday, following through on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s promise to let the Nordic nation into the defense alliance.

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The bill backed by Erdogan was earlier assessed by a subcommittee of the Turkish parliament and will be approved with a vote at the general assembly, ruling AK Party whip Yilmaz Tunc told Bloomberg News on Wednesday.

The ratification will lift the last obstacle to Finland’s entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization after Hungarian parliament on Monday also backed the move. With the timeline on Sweden’s membership still unclear, Turkey’s vote officially decouples the Nordic countries’ bids to join the alliance, filed in May to deter any Russian aggression following its invasion of Ukraine.

Read More: NATO Edges Closer to Expansion as Finland Wins Over Holdouts

Both Turkey and Hungary signaled earlier this month they’d approve Finland’s entry alone following months of stonewalling. Turkish President Erdogan accuses Sweden of not doing enough to crack down on groups that Turkey sees as terrorists, while the party of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has linked that country’s veto to a clash inside the European Union over the rule of law.

Finland guards a border with Russia roughly 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) long, meaning its membership will double the length of NATO’s frontier with Russia, which now comprises just 6% of Russia’s land perimeter. It would enable the alliance to improve its surveillance of Russia’s western flank with the help of Finland’s well-trained military, which already uses weapons compatible with the alliance.

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