BRUSSELS — The 30 NATO allies are expected to sign Sweden and Finland’s membership protocols on Tuesday, sending the two nations’ offers of membership to alliance capitals for legislative approval.
The move will further reinforce Russia’s strategic isolation following its invasion of neighboring Ukraine in February and the military struggles that have unfolded there since.
All 30 ambassadors and permanent representatives are due to formally endorse decisions from last week’s NATO summit when the alliance took the historic decision to invite Russia’s neighbor Finland and Scandinavian partner Sweden to join the military club.
Despite the agreement within the alliance, parliamentary approval in the Turkish member state could still pose problems for their final inclusion as members.
Last week, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Ankara could still block the process if the two countries did not fully comply with Turkey’s request to extradite terrorist suspects with links to banned Kurdish groups or the network of an exiled cleric accused of a failed 2016 coup in Turkey.
He said the Turkish parliament may refuse to ratify the deal. This is a powerful threat since NATO membership must be formally approved by all 30 member states, giving everyone a right to block.
The signing scheduled for Tuesday already brings the two nations closer to NATO. As close partners, they have already attended some meetings on issues that have immediately affected them. As official guests, they can attend all ambassador meetings even if they do not yet have the right to vote.