IL report: This is how the ratification of Finland's NATO membership in Turkey was justified – Niinistö's visit was the final touch

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Iltalehti tells how diplomacy progressed to the point where the presidents agreed face-to-face on the ratification of Finland's NATO membership. -finish-nato-jaumlsenyyden-ratification-in-turkey-niinistoumln's-visit-viimeinen-silaus-02e54a2.jpg” alt=”IL report: This was the basis for the ratification of Finland's NATO membership in Turkey – Niinistö's visit the final touch ” />

President Niinistö at the NATO summit in Madrid last summer. Heidi Today at 13:50

Iltalehti wrote on February 6 that “Finland is ready to join NATO without Sweden”.

Finland the government had told Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, that such a situation might arise during the spring.

Kristersson was disappointed by this information, but he replied that he understood Finland's position.

Finland's negotiators were reached an agreement with the Turks at the end of November that Turkey no longer had any new demands regarding Finland.

The turnaround took place in Bucharest on November 29 and 30.

– The stronger message came from the Turkish side in the tripartite meeting, which was held in Bucharest in connection with the NATO foreign ministers' meeting. The positive message was more emphatic in the speeches there, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told Iltalehti in February at the Munich Security Conference.

Iltalehti wrote on February 11 as follows:

“Finland will be a full member of NATO at the NATO summit held in Vilnius on July 11 and 12. This is the assessment of foreign and security policy sources and diplomatic sources who know what is currently happening hidden from the public eye.”

At the same time, the sources confirmed that Finland was preparing to join NATO before Sweden.

Diplomatic sources said that this had the support of major NATO countries.

NATO bill

Friday, February 10 the parliamentary parties announced that Prime Minister Sanna Marinin(sd) the NATO bill submitted by the government would be processed during the current election period.

The actual situation of the NATO negotiations was known to a very small inner circle of foreign and security policy. Not all party leaders, cabinet ministers or committee chairmen knew in which direction the situation was developing.

The reason for the silence was clear: they did not want to annoy the Swedes.

For example, the President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö could not directly ask the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan whether Turkey would first ratify only Finland's NATO membership.

There had to be certainty that Turkey would really like to ratify the membership. Only in that situation could Niinistö's visit to Turkey come into question.

The sources said that a subtle probe could be done on Finland's behalf by a major NATO member country: for example, Britain, France, Germany or the United States.

Especially the United States and Great Britain made efforts for the realization of Finland's NATO ratification.

The sources said that this possibility would probably be discussed at the Munich Security Conference on 17-18. February, but hardly anything would be said publicly about it.

The role of the United States

Before the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey, it had seemed likely that the Turkish parliament would ratify Finland's membership in March, i.e. before the election break.

The earthquake brought with it a human factor of uncertainty, but at the same time Finland was able to show its solidarity with Turkey by helping the country quickly.< /p>

Foreign Minister Haavisto met US Foreign Minister Antony J. Blinken in Munich.

– Information has been intensively exchanged, Haavisto summarized.

Haavisto confirmed that the topic of the discussions was the fastest possible accession of Finland and Sweden to full membership of NATO.

Blinken flew from Germany directly to Ankara.

At the level of the foreign minister, Finland was primed Ratification of NATO membership in Turkey.

When the Turks showed their willingness to ratify Finland's membership at the ministerial level, the matter moved to the level of state leaders.

It was only at this point that the President of the Republic Niinistö could enter the stage openly.

According to Biden

On Thursday, March 9, he met the President of the United States Joe Biden In the White House. Originally, he was only supposed to meet Biden's adviser Jake Sullivan at the Finnish Embassy in Washington.

Sullivan asked Niinistö to the White House – and Biden himself was there.


The sources estimate that the Americans wanted to keep a low profile in the matter in advance, which is why the bilateral meeting between Biden and Niinistö was arranged to appear spontaneous.

The White House discussed the fact that Finland would seek to join NATO in the coming weeks and that Turkey would be ready to ratify Finland's membership.

On Sunday, after returning from the United States, Niinistö told Marin and key government ministers at TP-Utva what would happen.

On Friday, March 17, Niinistö will meet Erdoğan in Ankara. He personally wants to hear from Erdoğan that the Turkish parliament will ratify Finland's membership before the country's parliamentary elections in May.

The trip would not be made unless there was a fairly high degree of certainty about the matter in advance. At the same time, Erdoğan gets positive international publicity for himself.

The most important thing is not the choreography, as the White House has emphasized, but the fact that Finland and Sweden become full members of NATO.

Sweden does understand Finland's insecure position as Russia's border neighbor.

– Although there is a very strong interest in keeping the processes of Sweden and Finland together, it must be respected that NATO membership is about national interest, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström told IL already in early February.

Billström emphasized that the neighbors are sovereign states, and their NATO memberships are not tied to each other.

IL report: Näin was primed in Finland Ratification of NATO membership in Turkey – Niinistös visit is the final touch

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