Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ended months of diplomatically fraught delays on Friday and asked parliament to back Finland’s bid to join NATO.
The same decision is expected to be taken by the parliament of Hungary, which has scheduled the ratification session for March 27. This means the US-led defense alliance is likely to grow to 31 countries within a few months.
NATO’s expansion into a country with a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border with Russia will double the length of the bloc’s current border with its Cold War-era foe.
But it also dashes the short-term hopes of Sweden, another NATO aspirant, a Nordic power whose multiple disputes with Turkey have ultimately sunk its bid to join the bloc ahead of an alliance summit in July. .
Helsinki and Stockholm ended decades of military non-commitment and decided to join the world’s most powerful defense alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Their applications were accepted at the June NATO summit, which signaled the Western world’s willingness to stand up to Russia in Europe’s worst conflict since World War II.