President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö visited Türkiye from 16 to 17 March 2023.
President Niinistö met with President of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on 17 March in Ankara. The Presidents held thorough discussions on the geopolitical situation, bilateral relations between Finland and Türkiye, Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO memberships and reconstruction after the earthquake.
In connection with the meeting, President Erdogan signed his decision to send the ratification of Finland’s NATO membership to the Parliament of Türkiye.
“We understood earlier that you had made your decision and signing it today confirms that the Parliament of Türkiye will start to work with the ratification of the Finnish membership,” President Niinistö said at a joint press conference held after the meeting.
The President also raised the issue of Sweden’s membership of NATO and stated that Finland’s membership of NATO is not complete without Sweden. “I would like to see in Vilnius an alliance of 32 members,” the President said.
Before the meeting in Ankara, the President laid a wreath at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder and first President of the Republic of Türkiye.
The visit started in the earthquake-hit region
On Thursday 16 March, President Niinistö visited the area affected by the earthquake in Kahramanmaraş in south-eastern Türkiye.
At Karacasu Container City, built of containers to serve as temporary housing, the President met with Governor of Kahramanmaraş province, Faruk Çoşkun, and Governor of Ağrı province, Osman Varol, as well as local residents and aid workers. The President said Finland will continue to provide humanitarian and expert assistance to Türkiye.
At a meeting with Finnish experts working in the quake region, the President thanked them for their important work. “We are proud of you,” the President said.
At a press conference in Ankara, President Niinistö affirmed that devastation caused by the earthquake was shocking. However, the valuable and effective work of the administration and aid workers also gives hope. “People understand how important it is to work for the common good. I hope we can see it multiply on the international arena.”
President Niinistö’s delegation also included Minister of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto.