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Turkey ‘highly likely’ to ratify Finland’s NATO bid before mid-April, sources say

Turkey’s parliament is “highly likely” to ratify Finland’s NATO accession bid before mid-April, two Turkish officials told Reuters on Wednesday, a day before Finnish President Sauli Niinistö visits the country.

A senior Turkish official told Reuters that Finland’s bid would be approved independently from that of Sweden.

Another official with knowledge of the matter said the country’s approach to terrorist organizations was in line with Turkey’s sensitivities, and that Helsinki has taken steps in that regard.

“It is highly likely that the necessary step for Finland’s NATO membership will be completed before [parliament] closes and the election is held,” the official said.

Both officials declined to be named because the discussions are not public yet.

Niinistö, who will visit Turkey on March 16-17, said he believed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will announce the decision concerning Finland’s NATO bid when the two meet.

“We knew that when Turkish President Erdoğan on his part has made the decision concerning the ratification of Finland’s NATO membership, he wants to meet and fulfill his promise ‘president to president’,” Niinistö wrote in an email to Reuters.

Sweden and Finland applied last year to join the trans-Atlantic defense pact after Russia had invaded Ukraine, however, faced unexpected objections from Turkey. Ankara says Stockholm harbors members of terrorist groups, which Sweden denies.

The parliaments of all 30 members of NATO have to mutually ratify membership bids for the alliance. Aside from Hungary, Turkey is the only member not to have yet given Finland and Sweden the green light.

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