Czech Republic ratifies NATO accession protocols of Finland and Sweden

The Czech Republic joins the majority of NATO countries in approving the protocols for the accession of Finland and Sweden to the military bloc.

  • The Czech parliament

The Czech parliament on Saturday approved the NATO accession protocols of Finland and Sweden by a majority of votes.

“On Saturday, 134 of the 152 deputies present voted for the admission of Finland to NATO, and 135 of 151 voted for the admission of Sweden, in both cases 4 deputies voted against”, confirmed the parliament in a statement.

The bill will now have to be approved by the President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, who has previously announced his support for the two countries joining the alliance.

On July 5, the permanent representatives of NATO member states signed the accession protocols of Finland and Sweden at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.

All bloc members must ratify the protocols in accordance with their national laws.

To date, 24 countries out of 30 have already completed the formal procedure for welcoming Finland and Sweden into the alliance.

The requests have not been ratified by Spain, Greece, Portugal, Slovakia, Turkey and Hungary.

Russia has repeatedly noted that NATO’s actions suggest it is aiming for confrontation. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said alliance expansion will not bring security to Europe and NATO expansion is a form of aggression.

However, Peskov noted that he does not see Sweden and Finland’s possible NATO membership as an existential threat to Russia.

On May 18, three months after the start of the war in Ukraine, Finland and Sweden presented offers to join NATO, ending decades of neutrality. However, Turkey turned down their candidacies and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara could not consent to the Nordic countries’ move as long as they supported Kurdish “terrorists”.

On the first day of the military alliance summit in the Spanish capital Madrid on June 28, Turkey agreed to back Finland and Sweden’s joint NATO membership after Erdogan’s office felt that “Turkey got what it wanted” from Sweden and Finland before agreeing to back their push to join the NATO alliance.

On July 10, Sweden drew up a list of 10 members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to be extradited to Turkey following the signing of the memorandum in Madrid.

The two Nordic countries have agreed to lift their arms embargoes on Turkey, which were imposed in response to Ankara’s 2019 military incursion into Syria.

Turkey has no response from Finland and Sweden on extraditions: minister

However, on August 20, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said that Turkey had not received responses from Sweden and Finland on the extradition of members of the PKK and the preacher’s organization. Islamic Fethullah Gulen (FETO), deemed a “terrorist” by Ankara, and sent a new candidacy to the Nordic countries.

“We have not received a positive response to our extradition requests. We have sent the new request and reiterated our requests,” Bozdag told reporters.

A week ago, Bozdag said an individual extradited from Scandinavia “had nothing to do with terrorist crimes” and that Sweden and Finland had failed to comply with Turkey’s extradition requests.

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