ADDS QUOTES FROM NATO CHIEF, FINLAND'S PRESIDENT
NEW YORK (AA) - Türkiye's parliament voted Thursday to approve Finland's bid to join NATO.
The Nordic country received Ankara's official blessing for its request to join the military alliance, with 276 votes in favor.
Thursday's vote means that all 30 current member states of NATO have now ratified Finland's accession, a requirement for it to join the alliance.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the vote by Turkish lawmakers ratifying Finland's membership.
''I welcome the vote of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye to complete the ratification of Finland’s accession. This will make the whole NATO family stronger and safer,'' he said on Twitter.
Finland's President Sauli Niinisto also welcomed the vote in a tweet, saying: ''I want to thank everyone of them for their trust and support. Finland will be a strong and capable Ally, committed to the security of the Alliance. ''
''Finland is now ready to join NATO. We look forward to welcoming Sweden to join us as soon as possible,'' he added.
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto thanked Türkiye in the Turkish language in a tweet.
''Teşekkürler! Grateful to Grand National Assembly of Türkiye for the decision to ratify Finland's Accession Protocol,'' he said.
Abandoning decades of military non-alignment after the launch of Russia’s war on Ukraine last February, Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO last May.
But Türkiye, a NATO member for over 70 years, asked the two Nordic countries to take concrete action against terrorist groups like the PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in order for them to join the alliance.
In June, Finland and Sweden signed a memorandum with Türkiye to address Ankara’s security concerns, and senior diplomats and officials from the three countries have held various meetings since then to discuss implementation of the trilateral agreement.
Sweden passed an anti-terror law last November, hoping that Ankara would approve Stockholm’s bid to join NATO. The new law, which goes into force on June 1, will allow authorities to prosecute individuals who support terrorist groups.
Türkiye said earlier this month that it would approve the process of Finland's NATO membership in parliament. It said that Finland had done what was necessary to gain membership, while Sweden still has work to do.