Finnish President Sauli Niinisto confirmed on Sunday that his country would seek membership in the NATO military alliance, in a historic policy shift sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and added that he would discuss the issue with Turkey.
Finland is ready to discuss with Ankara the issues raised by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan regarding NATO membership, Niinisto stressed after Turkey expressed reservations about Finland and Sweden’s candidacy for NATO. NATO because of the support of the two countries to the terrorist organization PKK, which poses serious national problems. threats to Turkey’s security and is responsible for the deaths of countless Turkish citizens and soldiers.
Moscow, which shares a 1,300 kilometer (800 mile) border with Finland, said it would be a mistake for Helsinki to join the transatlantic alliance and would damage bilateral relations.
Sweden is also expected to follow suit, as public support for membership has grown amid security concerns.
Sunday’s announcement comes after Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Thursday that they were both in favor of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) membership, giving the go-ahead for the country’s application.
“Today we, the president and the government’s foreign policy committee, have decided together that Finland … will apply for NATO membership,” Niinisto told reporters at the presidential palace in Helsinki.
Niinisto called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday to tell him about Finland’s plans to join the alliance. Putin said such a move would harm Russian-Finnish relations.
“I, or Finland, are not known for sneaking around and quietly disappearing behind a corner. It’s better to say clearly what has already been said, also to the relevant side and that’s what I wanted to do,” he said. he said of his Sunday call.
US President Joe Biden held a joint call with Niinisto and Andersson on Friday where, according to a White House statement, he “underlined his support for NATO’s open door policy and the right of Finland and Sweden to decide their own future, foreign policy and security arrangements.”
The United States is also working with Turkey on the two nations’ NATO membership, the White House says, after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan voiced Ankara’s objection to Helsinki’s welcoming stance and Stockholm towards the PKK and other terrorist groups.