NATO To Add New Member Sweden After Turkey Previously Blocked Expansion


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Sweden moved closer to joining NATO after Turkey agreed to back the nation’s bid Monday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has agreed to advance Sweden’s application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), The Washington Post reported. The Turkish President will send Sweden’s application to parliament for ratification. The move is expected to virtually guarantee Sweden’s admittance into NATO.

“President Erdogan has agreed to forward the Accession Protocol for Sweden to the Grand National Assembly as soon as possible and work closely with the assembly to ensure ratification,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, according to The Post. (RELATED TO: NATO Is On The Doorstep Of Expansion After Greenlight From Orban’s Party)

“This is a historic day,” he added.

Erdoğan on Monday compared Sweden’s attempt to join NATO to Turkey’s failure to join the European Union, according to The Post. The comments caused worry Turkey would prevent Sweden from joining the military alliance at the NATO Summit the same day.

“We want our promises to be kept,” Erdoğan said prior to leaving for the summit, The Post reported. “First, come and pave the way for Turkey in the European Union, then let’s pave the way for Sweden, just as we paved the way for Finland.”

Both Finland and Sweden sought access NATO membership following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Finland ultimately received approval to join the organization, but Sweden faced pushback from Turkey. Turkey blocked Sweden’s NATO application over the country’s alleged refusal to turn over members of the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK), which Turkey has deemed a terrorist group.

Foreign affairs analysts say Turkey’s main goal was to secure a $20 billion deal for American F-16 fighter jets by the Biden administration, the outlet reported.

“In reality, this is his negotiating style,” Brookings Institution fellow Asli Aydintasbas told The Post. “He knows Turkey will not get into the EU. But he wants Europeans to also put something on the table — and match U.S. efforts to free up F-16 sales to Turkey.”

President Joe Biden praised the new developments in a White House statement.

“I stand ready to work with President Erdogan and Turkey on enhancing defence and deterrence in the Euro-Atlantic area. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Kristersson and Sweden as our 32nd Nato ally,” the White House said in a statement cited by the BBC.

Turkey and Sweden worked together to hammer out details on “[Turkey’s] legitimate security concerns,” according to a press release from NATO.

“As part of that process, Sweden has amended its constitution, changed its laws, significantly expanded its counter- terrorism cooperation against the PKK, and resumed arms exports to [Turkey], all steps set out in the Trilateral Memorandum agreed in 2022,” the press release continued.