Turkey has agreed to support Finland’s and Sweden’s bids for NATO membership, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has confirmed.
This follows a meeting between Mr Stoltenberg and the leaders of the three nations at a summit of the military alliance in Madrid, the Spanish capital.
“I am happy to announce that we now have an agreement which paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO,” Stoltenberg told reporters.
“Turkey, Finland and Sweden have signed a memorandum that addresses Turkey’s concerns, particularly regarding arms exports and the fight against terrorism.”
Sweden and Finland, two historically non-aligned countries, made the decision to join NATO after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had threatened to veto Sweden and Finland’s bid for the military alliance over a range of issues, including an arms embargo imposed by the two Nordic states on Turkey over to his foray into Syria to fight the Kurdish YPG militia in 2019.
Another problem encountered by Turkey concerned the extradition of Kurdish personalities who had requested asylum in Finland and Sweden.
But Turkey’s main concern was Sweden’s apparent lack of action against Kurdish militant groups and their sympathizers – some of which Turkey said Sweden had supported.
“The Turkish side understands that Sweden has been too permissive regarding the actions of groups that Turkey considers to be terrorist entities,” former Turkish diplomat and director of Istanbul-based Edam think tank Sinan told the ABC. Ulgen. announcement.
“The core group, the PKK, is also on the EU and US terrorist lists.
“Sweden also considers it a terrorist entity but has not been effective enough to combat its influence on its own territory.”
A joint memorandum signed by the three countries addressing Turkey’s concerns is expected to be released.