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Turkey Gives Green Signal To Sweden, Finland Joining NATO, Internal Conflicts Persist

Lifting its earlier objections on Nordic countries Sweden and Finland joining NATO, Turkey has now reached a tri-lateral agreement.

Updated: June 29, 2022 7:00 AM IST

By News Desk | Edited by Shrimansi Kaushik

Turkey gives green signal to Sweden Finland joining NATO.
Turkey gives green signal to Sweden Finland joining NATO. Picture Source: Unsplash

Madrid: Shedding its earlier objections on Sweden and Finland joining NATO over concerns of arms exports and terrorism, Turkey has now changed its position and has agreed to support the Nordic countries’ NATO membership applications during the ongoing NATO Summit in Madrid. However, conflicts within the military bloc still remain.

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After an extended meeting among leaders from the three countries together with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday afternoon, a trilateral memorandum addressing Turkey’s security concerns was agreed and signed, paving the way for the two Nordic states’ NATO membership applications, Xinhua news agency reported.

“I am pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that enables Sweden and Finland’s membership in NATO,” said Stoltenberg at a press conference on Tuesday night, explaining that the deal includes agreements on arms exports and a joint fight against terrorism.

Sweden and Finland had earlier declined to seek Nato membership over concerns around their security relationship with Russia. This situation was changed after Russia began unprovoked attacks on Ukraine in February, triggering both the countries into seeking membership for NATO.

The Swedish and Finnish leaders will now be able to attend the Nato summit on Wednesday and Thursday as invitees which suggests that their countries are set to join NATO as full members. Turkey had earlier refused to support their applications as it wanted to have satisfactory assurances that the Nordic countries were willing to address the problem of terrorism, specifically in the case of those groups it considers as terrorist organisations.

“This will strengthen NATO, and it will also strengthen Sweden and Finland”, said Stoltenberg, adding that now is the time for the 30 different parliaments to make a decision. According to NATO, all 30 members must approve a country’s bid for it to be accepted into the alliance.

Although several NATO countries have already approved the two Nordic states’ bid in mid-May to join the military alliance, the process has proven not to be as straightforward, as Turkey soon raised objections, citing Swedish and Finnish ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Syria’s Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) that Turkey labels as terrorist groups. Ankara has also voiced dissatisfaction with the Swedish arms embargo on Turkey.

Rounds of talks have been held in the past weeks at both Ankara and NATO headquarters in Brussels which aimed to resolve differences among the two Nordic states and Turkey. Despite Turkey’s green light on Tuesday, the NATO head admitted that conflicts within the military bloc still remain.

“There will still be conflicts within the defense alliance, but we have shown the strength of our alliance.” Stoltenberg concluded.

(With inputs from IANS) 

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