After Erdogan told him in private that he wouldn’t mind Finland joining NATO, Finland’s President, Sauli Niinisto, said he was “astonished” that Turkey’s President, Erdogan, had said that Turkey might try to stop Finland from joining the alliance.
“To begin with, the reason I was astonished due to the fact that I had a phone conversation with the President, Mr. Erdogan” Niinisto said to CNN during his appearance on the program “State of the Union.”
“And then he said that they will estimate, well, positively our aim to apply for membership. And now it changed.” the Finnish President added.
The President of Finland announced on Sunday that the country will apply to join NATO. This will be an important step for Finland, which has maintained a policy of military neutrality for several decades.
In a joint press conference with Prime Minister Sanna Marin, President Sauli Niinistö said:
“Today, we, the President and the Government’s Foreign Policy Committee, have jointly decided that Finland… will apply to join NATO.”
He further added that Finland’s security would be “maximized” as a result of its membership in the alliance.
Sanna Marin said she hoped “parliament would ratify the decision to apply for NATO membership in the coming days” and added that the formal application was expected to be submitted next week. Sauli Niinistö said he had spoken to Vladimir Putin on Saturday and briefed him on Finland’s decision.