According to Yeni Safak, as the war in Ukraine has led Finland and Sweden to do a U-turn and seek membership in the NATO alliance, the road to membership that lies ahead for them would normally entails a long, multi-step process.
In order for NATO to accept new members – with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Ukraine now similarly seeking membership – various conditions must be fulfilled and legal processes completed.
NATO was founded in 1949, after the end of World War II, by 12 countries: the US, UK, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Luxembourg, Iceland, Denmark, and Belgium. Turkey, along with Greece, followed in 1952, and this February Turkey marked its 70th anniversary of joining the alliance.
In the 73 years since the alliance’s founding, the number of members grew from 12 to 30, through eight expansion waves.
The first was Turkey and Greece. In 1955, then-West Germany joined the NATO ranks, and in 1982, Spain gained membership.
With the 1999 post-Cold War accession of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, the number of members grew to 19.
2004 saw Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Bulgaria join, along with the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
Albania and Croatia became member states in 2009, Montenegro in 2017, and finally North Macedonia in 2020.