‘Historic day’: Turkey’s Erdogan agrees to support NATO bid in Sweden | NATO news

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The head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, announces that President Erdogan has agreed to forward Sweden’s offer to the Turkish parliament.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to support Sweden’s bid to join NATO after a year of stalling the move citing Turkish security concerns.

NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg announced on Monday that Erdogan agreed to forward Sweden’s membership application for the alliance to the Turkish parliament.

After talks in Vilnius, Lithuania, with Erdogan and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Stoltenberg said Turkey had agreed to move forward.

“President Erdogan has agreed to forward the Swedish agreement protocol to the national assembly as soon as possible, and to work closely with the assembly to ensure ratification,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference. .

“This is a historic day.”

Sweden’s NATO deal has been held up by protests from Turkey since last year, which accused Stockholm of harboring Ankara’s Kurdish activists as “terrorists”.

But a joint statement issued after three-way talks said Turkey and Sweden would work closely in “anti-terrorism coordination” and also promote trade ties between the two – lateral

‘At the gates of the EU’

Earlier on Monday, Erdogan upped the ante by demanding that the European Union revive the EU’s stalled membership bid as a precondition for Sweden to join NATO.

The surprise announcement by Erdogan before he left for the NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital added new uncertainty to Sweden’s bid to be the alliance’s 32nd member.

This was the first time that Erdogan linked his country’s desire to join the EU with Sweden’s efforts to become a member of NATO.

“Turkey has been waiting at the door of the European Union for more than 50 years now, and almost all the countries that are members of NATO are now members of the European Union,” said Erdogan to reporters in Istanbul.

“I am making this call to those countries that have kept Turkey waiting at the gates of the European Union for more than 50 years. Come and open the way for Turkey’s membership in the European Union. When you set the way for Turkey, we will prepare the way for Sweden as we did for Finland.”

US President Joe Biden praised Erdogan’s “commitment” to the NATO bid in Sweden later on Monday.

“I am ready to work with President Erdogan and Türkiye to strengthen protection and prevention in the Euro-Atlantic region. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Kristersson and Sweden as our 32nd NATO Ally. And I thank Secretary General Stoltenberg for his steadfast leadership,” said a statement from the White House.

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