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13 July, 2024
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Historic day for NATO as Turkey agrees to ratify Sweden's accession

Breakthrough trilateral talks set the stage for Sweden's ratification, strengthening NATO's security compact

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

Hailing a “historic day,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday evening that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed – after marathon trilateral consultations with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on the eve of the Alliance’s Summit – to proceed to forward the Nordic country’s accession protocol to the North Atlantic Alliance for ratification by the Turkish parliament “as soon as possible.”

“Glad to announce that after the meeting I hosted with Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Swedish PM, President, Erdogan has agreed to forward Sweden’s accession protocol to the Grand National Assembly ASAP and ensure ratification. This is a historic step which makes all NATO Allies stronger and safer,” Stoltenberg said in a tweet.

However, the text signed between the three does not specify when this will happen, as the NATO Secretary General himself said.

What was essentially agreed between Sweden and Turkey is the creation of a mechanism (security compact) through which Stockholm will respond to security concerns raised by Ankara regarding terrorism, with Stoltenberg clarifying that this is not something new, but a confirmation of the conditions set last year in the memorandum signed at the Madrid summit.

“What has been agreed today is good for Sweden, for Turkey and for strengthening NATO itself,” the secretary-general said.

Sweden has asserted that it has complied with all of the requests made of it during talks with Turkey last year, including drafting a new law making membership in a terrorist organization illegal. Sweden has also emphasized that its constitution protects freedom of speech.

Last year, Sweden and Finland submitted applications to join NATO, abandoning long-standing Cold War-era military non-alignment principles in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

All NATO countries must agree to applications before they can be accepted, and while Turkey and Hungary approved Finland’s application in April, they have yet to do the same for Sweden.

Earlier on Monday, Turkey’s EU membership was thrown on the negotiating table at the last minute by Erdogan ahead of Tuesday’s NATO meeting in what is seen as an attempt to prove to Turkish public opinion that he has won additional gains to lift Ankara’s veto on Sweden’s membership of the Alliance.

Cyprus  |  NATO  |  USA  |  Turkey

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