Sweden and Finland – Erdogan admits: Green light for NATO accession

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Well: Turkey is giving up its opposition to Sweden and Finland’s admission to NATO. Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said on Tuesday evening that Turkey would support the invitation to Finland and Sweden to join the alliance at the NATO summit in Madrid.

A corresponding memorandum was signed by the foreign ministers of the three countries after meeting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The joint memorandum underlines the commitment of Finland, Sweden and Turkey to ensure their full support against threats to each other’s security, the Finnish president said in a statement. “Becoming a NATO ally will strengthen that commitment.”

Intense debates since the war in Ukraine
Finland and Sweden are not yet members of NATO, but are close partners in the defense alliance. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine sparked intense debates about such membership in the two militarily non-aligned countries. On May 18, they each applied for admission to NATO – hoping to get through the accession process as quickly as possible.

However, Turkey promptly put an end to this by blocking the start of the admission process as the only NATO member. Since decisions in NATO are made according to the consensus principle and thus not against resistance from allies, the process has stalled ever since. This was an unexpected setback for the alliance, as it has been trying to show unity and unity since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

Ankara demanded the extradition of several people
Ankara justified its blockade with the alleged Swedish and Finnish support of “terrorist organizations” such as the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK, the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG and the Gülen movement – this is rejected in Stockholm and Helsinki. Ankara has demanded the extradition of several people suspected of being terrorists in Turkey.

Erdogan was also concerned about lifting restrictions on arms exports to Turkey. NATO partners such as Germany, as well as other EU countries such as Sweden, have partially halted arms supplies to Turkey in protest at a Turkish offensive against the YPG in northern Syria in 2019. Syria sees it as a necessary step in the fight against terrorism.

Stoltenberg recently tried to mediate between Turkey and the two potential future members. He stressed several times that Turkey’s objections had to be taken seriously – apparently that has now been done.

historic move
For Finland and Sweden, the NATO issue is a historic step, as both countries have traditionally been militarily unattached. Both have long viewed Russia as a threat. In the case of Finland, this also has to do with the fact that the country has a border with Russia that is more than 1,300 kilometers long. No other EU country borders the gigantic empire for such a long distance.

Originally, there was hope that Finland and Sweden could become official NATO members before the end of this year. The dispute with Turkey has cast doubt on whether this loose schedule will hold. After the entry into NATO is complete, the accession protocols must be ratified by the parliaments of all 30 Allies, which diplomats estimate should be completed within six to eight months.

Source: Krone

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