Turkey drops opposition to Sweden, Finland NATO membership bids

Turkey drops opposition to Sweden, Finland NATO membership bids
NATO leaders after Turkey drops opposition to Finland, Sweden bids. Credit: Jens Stoltenberg

On Wednesday, at the NATO summit in Madrid, Turkey announced it would be dropping its opposition to Finland and Sweden's bids to join NATO.

In light of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, the latest development now opens the door for the Nordic countries to become members of the military alliance.

The three countries signed a joint agreement after hours of negotiations on Tuesday, mediated by NATO, which ended a six-week veto by Ankara tied to concerns over support for Kurdish separatists.

The deal comes as a boost for NATO on the evening of the summit, as the row was threatening to overshadow an event meant to show unity against Russia, support of Ukraine and the alliance's newly billed 'strategic concept' which will beef up its approach to defending its eastern European allies.

"Our foreign ministers signed a trilateral memorandum which confirms that Turkey will, at the Madrid Summit this week, support the invitation of Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO," said Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö.

"The concrete steps of our accession to NATO will be agreed by the NATO allies during the next two days, but that decision is now imminent."

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the deal involved Sweden and Finland changing their approaches to what Ankara views as threats and advancing work on Turkish extradition requests.

Stoltenberg added that both Sweden and Finland would ease restrictions on their arms embargo to Turykey.

Both are moves that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan can boast as political victories in Turkey in the run-up to elections that are to be held before June next year.

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