According to Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which established NATO, any European state capable of assisting the development of the principles of the Treaty and the security of the North Atlantic region may be invited to join. Accordingly, during the Cold War, Türkiye and Greece became NATO members on February 18, 1952, Germany on May 9, 1955, and Spain on May 30, 1982, bringing the total number of NATO members to 16. On July 1, 1966, after France withdrew from the Alliance’s integrated military command, the headquarters of the Alliance moved from Paris to Brussels. At the NATO Summit held in Strasbourg and Kehl on April 3-4, 2009, France officially rejoined NATO’s integrated military command structure. Similarly, Greece, which decided to withdraw from the Alliance’s integrated military command structure on August 14, 1974, returned on October 20, 1980.
Within the framework of the Alliance’s transformation, which can be considered a product of NATO’s ability to adapt to changes in the international security environment after the Cold War, there has been a significant expansion to 31 members: the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined on March 12, 1999; Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia on March 29, 2004; Albania and Croatia on April 1, 2009; Montenegro on June 5, 2017; North Macedonia on March 27, 2020; and Finland on April 4, 2023. In the post-Cold War period, NATO’s enlargement was officially initiated at the end of 1993. Although it is claimed that the assurances given to the Soviet Union during the reunification of Germany in 1990 played a role in the delay in the official agenda of enlargement,1 t