Turkey lifts its veto on Sweden’s entry into NATO and achieves guarantees to enter the EU

Turkish President, Recep Tayipp Erdoğanhas agreed this Monday to lift its veto on Sweden’s accession to NATO thanks to the intermediation of the Secretary General of the Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg. Erdogan has announced that he will send Sweden’s accession protocol to the Turkish Parliament for ratification as soon as possible.

The agreement came after a three-way meeting in Vilnius between Erdogan, Stoltenberg and the Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristerson. Sweden will thus become the 32nd member state of NATO. The Secretary General of the Atlantic Alliance has said that it is a “historic day” and has stressed that the entry of Stockholm will benefit the security of NATO as a whole.

At the meeting, Swedish Prime Minister has promised to Erdogan to support his candidacy for Turkey to join the EU, as well as to promote the modernization of the customs union between Bruserlas and Ankara, according to the joint communiqué approved at the end of the meeting.

[Cumbre clave de la OTAN en Vilna: garantías para Ucrania, entrada de Suecia y más gasto militar]

In a surprising turn, Erdogan had demanded on Monday to speed up Turkey’s accession to the EU in exchange for unblocking Sweden’s candidacy. Ankara achieved community club membership candidate status in 1999 and began negotiations in 2005. But these talks were suspended in 2016 due to the authoritarian drift of Turkey after the failed coup attempt.

The Commission of Ursula von der Leyen has been quick to point out that the enlargement of the EU and NATO “are separate processes” that “cannot be linked”. Turkey’s entry into the European Union will depend on its “merits” and its work in meeting the conditions of membership.

Erdogan’s yes to Sweden came after another meeting in Vilnius with the President of the European Council, Charles-Michel. Both presidents have promised to “revitalize” relations between the EU and Turkey, although without concrete details on accession. The head of community diplomacy, Josep Borrell, has been commissioned to prepare a report on the future of relations between Brussels and Ankara.

In a historic decision, Sweden and Finland applied in May 2022 to join NATO, ending their traditional policy of military neutrality, in response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The allies approved his entry into the club at the Madrid summit a year ago now. Finland completed its entry last Aprilbut Sweden has been left behind because neither Turkey nor Hungary have ratified their accession protocol.

Erdogan accused the Stockholm government of providing cover on its territory for activists from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is included in the EU’s black list of terrorist organizations. At the Madrid summit, Turkey signed a trilateral protocol with Sweden and Finland to resolve this issue, but maintained that the Swedes have not yet fulfilled their part. For its part, Hungary has not given clear reasons for its delay in ratification.

By contrast, The Secretary General of the Atlantic Alliance has assured for days that Sweden has fulfilled all its commitments that he assumed in Madrid. In particular, he has reformed his constitution and passed new anti-terrorism legislation, lifted his arms embargo on Turkey, and extradited PKK militants.

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Written by Editor TLN

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