Türkiye 's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at his presidential palace, in Ankara, Turkey, March 10, 2022. (PHOTO / AP)
ANKARA / HELSINKI – Türkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that his country will "honor its pledge" on Finland's NATO bid after his scheduled meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on Friday, and the latter said he would acknowledge reception of the Turkish response to the membership ratification.
According to a statement released by the Turkish presidency on Wednesday, Türkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto are scheduled to meet and discuss bilateral relations, Finland's NATO membership application, Türkiye-EU relations, post-earthquake reconstruction, as well as other regional and global issues
Erdogan told reporters at the parliament that "we will run the necessary procedures", and "we will do our part and keep our promise".
"We will meet Mr. President and fulfill the promise we made," he said.
ALSO READ: 'Finland now more likely to join NATO before Sweden'
According to a statement released by the Turkish presidency on Wednesday, Erdogan and Niinisto are scheduled to meet and discuss bilateral relations, Finland's NATO membership application, Türkiye-EU relations, post-earthquake reconstruction, as well as other regional and global issues.
Contact with the Turkish presidential administration has been frequent since last spring, Niinisto said, and has accelerated in recent days.
The Finnish president also said he has been in contact with the Swedish prime minister, adding that it is very important to Finland that NATO membership both for his country and Sweden should materialize as soon as possible.
Finland's NATO accession bid has to get the Turkish parliament's approval. The latter will go into recess before mid-April, in the run-up to the country's presidential and parliamentary elections slated for May 14.
ALSO READ: Sweden, Finland and Türkiye hold NATO talks, agree to more meetings
Ankara previously said it would send Finland's bid for parliamentary sessions before doing the same for Sweden, because the latter has to take additional measures to address Türkiye's concerns about terrorism.
Finland's President Sauli Niinisto speaks during a joint press conference following a security meeting in Harpsund, Sweden, on Feb 22, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO in May 2022 in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Their accession to NATO needs the approval of all member states of the military alliance.
Türkiye, a NATO member, held back its approval and accused the two Nordic countries of supporting anti-Turkish Kurdish organizations and political dissidents. Türkiye also asked the two countries to extradite individuals it considers to be terrorist suspects.
ALSO READ: Finnish PM: Membership delay harms NATO credibility
In June 2022, Türkiye, Sweden and Finland reached a memorandum of understanding ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid, in which Türkiye greenlighted the applications of both countries to join NATO.