Turkey agrees to back Sweden’s NATO membership bid, ending standoff


The head of NATO announced Monday that Turkey has agreed to let Sweden into the Atlantic alliance after months of stalling Stockholm’s bid. 

The breakthrough came after talks between NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Lithuania on the eve of a two-day NATO summit. 

“Glad to announce that after the meeting I hosted with [Erdogan] & [Kristersson], President Erdogan has agreed to forward Sweden’s accession protocol to the Grand National Assembly ASAP & ensure ratification,” Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter

“This is an historic step which makes all NATO Allies stronger & safer,” he added.

Stoltenberg hosted the leaders of Turkey and Sweden on Monday to hash out Turkish opposition to Sweden’s ascension into the alliance.
With Sweden joining NATO, the alliance will grow to 32 members.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

NATO formally extended an invitation to Finland and Sweden to become the 31st and 32nd members of the bloc in June of 2022, four months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Finland officially joined the alliance in April, but Erdogan resisted approving Sweden’s bid over Stockholm’s refusal to extradite Kurdish activists wanted by Turkey as “terrorists” and its permitting of protests against the Ankara government.

Sweden’s application must be ratified by all NATO nations’ legislatures in order for it to become a full-fledged member.

The US Senate approved Sweden’s NATO bid in August of last year.

Erdogan backed down Monday after an 11th-hour bid to tie Sweden’s NATO bid to EU membership for Turkey went nowhere. 

“You cannot link the two processes,” Dana Spinant, a spokesperson for the European Commission, told reporters.

President Biden, who will be among the world leaders at the summit Tuesday and Wednesday, released a statement praising Erdogan’s commitment to grow the alliance.

“I welcome the statement issued by Türkiye, Sweden and the NATO Secretary General this evening, including the commitment by President Erdogan to transmit the Accession Protocol for Sweden to Türkiye’s Grand National Assembly for swift ratification,” the 80-year-old president said, using the Eurasian nation’s official name.

“I stand ready to work with President Erdogan and Türkiye on enhancing defense and deterrence in the Euro-Atlantic area,” he added. “I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Kristersson and Sweden as our 32nd NATO Ally.  And I thank Secretary General Stoltenberg for his steadfast leadership.”

Load more…

Copy the URL to share

Source link