NATO Secretary-General welcomed Türkiye's announcement to start the process to approve Finland's accession to the military bloc.

Iran PressEurope: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country will start the ratification process for Finland's membership to NATO. The announcement caps a nearly 10-month wait for Finland to join the alliance as Erdogan has delayed a decision on the matter.

"NATO will become stronger with Finland's membership and thus, I believe, will play an active role in maintaining global security and stability," Erdogan said Friday in a joint press conference in Ankara with Finnish President Sauli Ninnistö.

In May 2022, Finnish and Swedish officials announced plans to join the NATO alliance, an historic shift for both countries. But the road to NATO membership has been a long one and promises to be even longer for Sweden, which is still waiting on Erdogan.

Stoltenberg reiterated that the accession process has already improved the security situation of both Nordic countries.

"It is inconceivable that NATO would not respond should either Finland or Sweden come under attack. Their security matters to NATO," he noted.

Later on Friday, Stoltenberg and Erdoğan discussed the recent developments in a phone conversation. 219