Turkey backs Sweden’s NATO entry


VILNIUS: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to support Sweden’s bid to join NATO, a move that will expand the military alliance and strengthen its Baltic flank as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine.

Erdogan agreed to forward the membership bid to parliament, appearing to end months of drama over an issue that had strained the bloc.

According to a statement released following the final decision, “both Türkiye and Sweden will look to maximise opportunities to increase bilateral trade and investments. Sweden will actively support efforts to reinvigorate Türkiye’s EU accession process, including modernisation of the EU-Türkiye Customs Union and visa liberalisation”.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference, “I’m glad to announce that President Erdogan has agreed to forward the accession protocol for Sweden to the grand national assembly as soon as possible, and work closely with the assembly to ensure ratification”.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson remarked that “this feels very good, this has been my aim for a long time, and I believe we had a very fine response today and took a very big step towards membership”.

Reactions across Europe have been positive, with EU Foreign Policy Chief Joseph Borrell calling it “a historic step”. Reuters.

 

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