Finland’s president visits Trkiye’s quake-hit Kahramanmaras province


Finland's President Sauli Niinisto on Thursday visited Trkiye's Kahramanmaras province, the epicenter of the deadly Feb. 6 earthquakes.

Niinisto visted a container city in Kahramanmaras and spoke to quake survivors.

On Feb. 6, magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes struck 11 provinces - Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Hatay, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa - in southern Trkiye.

The disaster has claimed nearly 50,000 lives and affected more than 13.5 million people in Trkiye, as well as thousands more in northern Syria.

Niinisto is scheduled to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, with discussions set to focus on Finland's NATO membership bid.

'I know Erdogan for a long time. I am sure he has important messages,' said Niinisto.

Asked about whether Finland and Sweden's NATO accession bids would be considered separately, he said his country 'has fulfilled all of the expectations.'

'We applied for NATO membership and negotiated with the Turkish government, which started in Madrid. I think we have done everything necessary. We are now waiting for approval,' he said.

Abandoning decades of military non-alignment, Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO last May.

However, Trkiye, a longstanding NATO member, asked the two Nordic states to take concrete action against terror groups like the PKK and FETO, which carry out propaganda, funding and recruitment activities in these countries.

In June, Finland, and Sweden signed a memorandum with Trkiye to address Ankara's security concerns, and senior diplomats and officials from the three countries have held various meetings since then to discuss the implementation of the trilateral agreement.

Source: Anadolu Agency