By Diyar Guldogan
ANKARA (AA) - The Finnish embassy in Türkiye held a reception Monday marking the 105th anniversary of Finland’s independence.
"We are tomorrow celebrating the 105th independence day of Finland. Today, when a cruel war in Ukraine is shaking Europe, we do understand even in the most dramatic and tragic way what independence means," Ambassador Ari Maki said at the event in the capital Ankara.
Maki said Russia’s war on Ukraine has overshadowed European security, with repercussions for Finland and Sweden as well.
Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO in May, abandoning decades of military non-alignment, a decision spurred by Russia's war against Ukraine.
But Türkiye -- a NATO member for more than 70 years -- voiced objections to their membership bids, accusing the two countries of tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.
Türkiye and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum in June at a NATO summit to address Ankara's legitimate security concerns, paving the way for their eventual membership in the alliance.
"I hope the remaining two (NATO) countries, Hungary and Türkiye, will ratify our membership agreements swiftly. Türkiye has during the process raised the issue of terrorism, which Finland takes seriously," Maki said.
Attending the reception, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakci said Türkiye would like to see both Finland and Sweden in NATO, adding: "As our legitimate demands have been understood by these two fellow European nations, we hope to see progress. The sooner the better.”
Noting that the number of tourists, trade volume and student-academic exchanges between Türkiye and Finland are increasing, Kaymakci said "I hope our cooperation and relations will be even stronger within NATO and the EU."