Finland, Sweden officially apply to join NATO
After voting in favor of entering the NATO alliance, both Finland and Sweden officially hand in their applications today.
Finland and Sweden handed in their bids to join the US-led military alliance NATO on Wednesday.
"The applications you have made today are a historic step. Allies will now consider the next steps on your path to NATO," alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said, after receiving the bids from the Finnish and Swedish ambassadors at NATO headquarters.
On Tuesday, Finland voted in favor of entering the NATO alliance, which followed an earlier statement by Finland's President and the Ministerial Committee on the completion of a Foreign and Security Policy report, regarding the country's NATO membership.
Finland and Sweden have been expected to apply to join NATO and promised it would grant membership quickly, according to diplomats and officials.
Turkey warns against membership
Earlier, Turkey opposed Finland and Sweden's NATO membership requests, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who added that any attempts to persuade Ankara to modify its attitude would be futile.
“These countries do not have a clear unequivocal stance against terrorist organizations. Sweden is the incubation center of terrorist organizations. They bring terrorists to talk in their parliaments. <…> We wouldn't say 'yes' to them joining NATO, a security organization <…> They were going to come on Monday to convince us. Sorry, they don’t have to bother,” Erdogan said.
The Turkish president was alluding to the banned separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Front (DHKP/C).
On the other hand, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, hoped that NATO would overcome Turkey's objection to Finland and Sweden's plans to join the alliance.
Borrell admitted that Turkey has raised some objections, but said “I hope that NATO will be able to overcome them.”
It is worth noting that accepting a state's application requires unanimous consent from all NATO members.