Turkey agreed to support Sweden’s accession to NATO

Jens Stoltenberg made the announcement at the end of a meeting between the President of Turkey and the Prime Minister of Sweden in Vilnius, Lithuania, a day before the start of the Atlantic Alliance summit.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will soon send Sweden’s membership protocol to NATO so that it can be ratified by parliament, the Atlantic alliance’s secretary general announced today.

“I am pleased to announce that President Erdogan has agreed to send Sweden’s accession protocol to the National Assembly as soon as possible.

NATO Secretary General confirmed Erdogan’s “clear commitment” and said Sweden’s accession process will happen as soon as possible. He says it’s a “historic step”.

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership last year, abandoning the military non-alignment policies that dominated decades of the Cold War and rethinking their defense policy after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Applications must be approved by all NATO members and while Finland was welcomed, Turkey and Hungary blocked Sweden’s application, criticizing the country for hosting Kurdish refugees.

Jens Stoltenberg made the announcement at the end of a meeting between the President of Turkey and the Prime Minister of Sweden in Vilnius, Lithuania, a day before the start of the Atlantic Alliance summit.

Stoltenberg also said that Hungary has made it clear that it will not finalize Sweden’s accession.

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In his first reaction to Turkey’s ‘green light’, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristerson said it was “a good day for Sweden”. “We are taking a big step towards NATO membership,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Ulf Kristerson was still “very happy” with the deal announced by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

US President Joe Biden has already responded to the news, welcoming Turkey’s stance and expressing its willingness to work with Erdogan on the security and defense of the Euro-Atlantic region.

For its part, Sweden will “vigorously support” Turkey’s efforts to renew its accession process to the EU, NATO said in a statement. “Both Turkey and Sweden seek to increase opportunities for bilateral trade and investment. “Sweden will actively support efforts to revitalize Turkey’s EU accession process, including the modernization of the EU-Turkey Customs Union and visa liberalization.”

So far, Erdogan appears to have said that Turkey would support Sweden only if the EU opened reunification talks with Ankara.

“Since the last NATO summit, Sweden and Turkey have worked together to address Turkey’s legitimate security concerns. As part of that process, Sweden amended its constitution, changed its laws, significantly expanded its counter-terrorism cooperation against the PKK and resumed arms exports to Turkey, all measures set out in the trilateral memorandum agreed to in 2022,” the NATO statement explains.

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