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Turkey’s Erdogan Agrees to Back Finland and Sweden’s NATO Bid

Turkey’s Erdogan Agrees to Back Finland and Sweden’s NATO Bid

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto said that Turkey has agreed to support Finland and Sweden’s joint membership of NATO, on the first day of the alliance’s summit in the Spanish capital, Madrid.

Niinisto said the breakthrough on Tuesday came after the three countries signed a joint memorandum “to extend their full support against threats to each other’s security”.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Turkey’s presidency confirmed the accord in separate statements, after talks between the NATO chief, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Niinisto.

Stoltenberg said NATO’s 30 leaders would now invite Finland, which shares a 1,300 km (810-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden to join NATO and that they would become official “invitees”.

The resolution of the deadlock marked a triumph for intense diplomacy as NATO allies try to seal the Nordic accession in record time as a way of solidifying their response to Russia – particularly in the Baltic Sea, where Finnish and Swedish membership would give the alliance military superiority.

Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull said NATO chief Stoltenberg stated that the alliance had “resolved its differences”.

“This allows NATO to put forward a united front in the face of Russian aggression, and that is absolutely core and central to the aims of this summit – not just a united front but an expanded front with two new members,” Hull said, speaking from Madrid.

The Nordic leaders had voiced optimism earlier on Tuesday that the Turkish president might lift his veto on their bid to join the alliance.

After landing in Madrid, Erdogan held more than two hours of talks with the Nordic leaders and Stoltenberg.

“We have made progress. That is definitely the case,” Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said.

“We are prepared for something positive to happen today, but also for it to take more time,” she added. “We must be patient and continue discussions even after the summit.”

Turkey’s concerns
Ankara had objected to Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO based on what it considers to be the Nordic pair’s lax approach toward groups Turkey deems national security threats.

Erdogan had accused Finland and more particularly Sweden of offering a safe haven to Kurdish militants who have been waging a decades-long armed uprising against the Turkish state. The Turkish leader had also called on the two countries to lift arms embargoes imposed on Turkey in 2019 over Ankara’s military offensive in Syria.

Turkey said after the announcement in Madrid that it had “got what it wanted” including “full cooperation … in the fight against” rebel groups.

Ankara could have prevented Finland and Sweden from joining NATO since all members of the military bloc must agree to taking on new members.

Other NATO allies, including France and Spain, had indirectly urged Turkey to yield on its block of the two potential new Nordic members.

Speaking at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Germany, French President Emmanuel Macron had called for a message of “unity and of force” from NATO in Madrid.

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto said that Turkey has agreed to support Finland and Sweden’s joint membership of NATO, on the first day of the alliance’s summit in the Spanish capital, Madrid.

Niinisto said the breakthrough on Tuesday came after the three countries signed a joint memorandum “to extend their full support against threats to each other’s security”.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Turkey’s presidency confirmed the accord in separate statements, after talks between the NATO chief, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Niinisto.

Stoltenberg said NATO’s 30 leaders would now invite Finland, which shares a 1,300 km (810-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden to join NATO and that they would become official “invitees”.

The resolution of the deadlock marked a triumph for intense diplomacy as NATO allies try to seal the Nordic accession in record time as a way of solidifying their response to Russia – particularly in the Baltic Sea, where Finnish and Swedish membership would give the alliance military superiority.

Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull said NATO chief Stoltenberg stated that the alliance had “resolved its differences”.

“This allows NATO to put forward a united front in the face of Russian aggression, and that is absolutely core and central to the aims of this summit – not just a united front but an expanded front with two new members,” Hull said, speaking from Madrid.

The Nordic leaders had voiced optimism earlier on Tuesday that the Turkish president might lift his veto on their bid to join the alliance.

After landing in Madrid, Erdogan held more than two hours of talks with the Nordic leaders and Stoltenberg.

“We have made progress. That is definitely the case,” Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said.

“We are prepared for something positive to happen today, but also for it to take more time,” she added. “We must be patient and continue discussions even after the summit.”

Turkey’s concerns
Ankara had objected to Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO based on what it considers to be the Nordic pair’s lax approach toward groups Turkey deems national security threats.

Erdogan had accused Finland and more particularly Sweden of offering a safe haven to Kurdish militants who have been waging a decades-long armed uprising against the Turkish state. The Turkish leader had also called on the two countries to lift arms embargoes imposed on Turkey in 2019 over Ankara’s military offensive in Syria.

Turkey said after the announcement in Madrid that it had “got what it wanted” including “full cooperation … in the fight against” rebel groups.

Ankara could have prevented Finland and Sweden from joining NATO since all members of the military bloc must agree to taking on new members.

Other NATO allies, including France and Spain, had indirectly urged Turkey to yield on its block of the two potential new Nordic members.

Speaking at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Germany, French President Emmanuel Macron had called for a message of “unity and of force” from NATO in Madrid.

‘Interest of the alliance’
In addition to Finland and Sweden’s membership bids in the 30-member military alliance, the three-day NATO summit in Madrid will also discuss the Ukraine-Russia war and NATO’s new strategic concept.

Erdogan is expected to meet Biden on Wednesday on the sidelines of the gathering focused on responding to the Kremlin’s invasion of its pro-Western neighbour.

The two leaders have had a chilly relationship since Biden’s election because of US concerns about human rights under Erdogan.

Biden and Erdogan last met briefly in October on the sidelines of a Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Rome.



from Global – Arise News
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