Finland to officially join NATO on Tuesday

Finland will officially become a member of NATO on Tuesday, the Finnish president’s office has announced.

The Nordic nation, which shares a border with Russia, applied to join the military alliance in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

It is the first enlargement of NATO since North Macedonia joined the alliance in 2020.

The announcement was confirmed by NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, who said the move will make Finland and other members “safer”.

“We will raise the Finnish flag for the first time here at NATO headquarters. It will be a good day for Finland’s security, for Nordic security and for NATO as a whole,” he told reporters in Brussels.

Turkey was the last of NATO’s 30 members to accept Finland’s application last month.

The country’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier in March that Finland had secured Turkey’s blessing after taking concrete steps to keep promises to crack down on groups seen by Ankara as terrorists, and to free up defence exports.

However, Turkey is still blocking the approval of Sweden joining NATO, with the government saying Stockholm has so far failed to sufficiently crackdown on similar groups.

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Turkey has repeatedly said Sweden needed to take additional steps against supporters of Kurdish militants and members of the network it holds responsible for a 2016 coup attempt.

Ankara treats both groups as terrorist organisations.

Talks between Sweden and Turkey have made little progress, especially following several disputes mainly over street protests by pro-Kurdish groups in Stockholm.

Mr Stoltenberg urged Turkey to ratify Sweden’s application. A vote on Sweden’s bid has also not yet been scheduled in Hungary.