On Tuesday, during the ongoing NATO Summit in Madrid, Turkey reversed course and decided to back Sweden’s and Finland’s applications for membership in the military alliance.
A trilateral pact addressing Turkey’s security concerns was agreed upon and signed on Tuesday afternoon following a lengthy discussion between the leaders of the three nations and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. This opened the door for the two Nordic states’ bids to join NATO.
At a news conference on Tuesday night, Stoltenberg declared, “I am glad to announce that we now have an agreement that enables Sweden and Finland’s participation in NATO.” He added that the accord also covers agreements on arms exports and a combined effort to combat terrorism.
The moment has come for the 30 various parliaments to decide, said Stoltenberg, adding that this will strengthen NATO as well as Sweden and Finland. NATO stipulates that for a country to be admitted into the alliance, all 30 members must agree on the application.
Although several NATO nations have already given their approval for the two Nordic countries’ bid to join the military alliance in mid-May, the process has not been as simple as expected. Turkey immediately voiced concerns, citing Swedish and Finnish ties to the PKK and Syria’s Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey regards as terrorist organizations. Also expressing displeasure with the Swedish arms embargo on Turkey is Ankara.
To address issues between the two Nordic states and Turkey, rounds of negotiations have been held recently in both Ankara and the NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Despite Turkey’s approval on Tuesday, the NATO supremo acknowledged that disputes still exist inside the armed alliance.
Although we have demonstrated the power of our cooperation, there will no doubt still be disputes inside the defense alliance. Stoltenberg came to an end.