By euronews spanish with EFE
According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to transmit Sweden’s accession protocol to the Turkish Parliament “as soon as possible”.
Turkey on Monday lifted its veto on Sweden’s entry into NATO, according to the Alliance’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, at a press conference a day before the organization’s summit in Vilnius.
Stoltenberg made these statements after a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoganwhich until now had blocked Sweden’s entry arguing that the Scandinavian country has historically served as a refuge for Kurdish terrorists.
It’s “a historic day,” says Stoltenberg
According to Stoltenberg, at the meeting Erdogan agreed to submit the Swedish entry protocol as soon as possible to the Turkish parliament for ratification.
“This is a historic day because we have a clear commitment from Türkiye to send the ratification documents (for Sweden’s NATO membership) to the Grand National Assembly (Turkish parliament) and to work closely with the assembly to ensure ratification”Stoltenberg stated.
He said he was “happy to announce” that as a result of today’s meeting in Vilnius, President Erdogan has agreed to send the documents ratifying Sweden’s accession to NATO to the Turkish Parliament.
However, he stressed that he does not know the exact deadlines in which Turkey will ratify the Swedish entry into the Alliance.
Regarding Hungary, which has not yet ratified Sweden’s entry, he recalled that Budapest had assured in the past that it would not be the last country to give the green light to Stockholm’s entry.
Although Sweden has reformed its anti-terrorism legislation, and Erdogan has indicated that there have been steps in the right direction, the resistance had not ceased and the latest statements did not give hope that the negotiations would unravel.
Before arriving in Vilnius, Erdogan had raised concerns by claiming in Istanbul that Sweden’s path to NATO membership would be smoothed when the way was opened for Turkey’s further rapprochement with the EU with a real prospect of membership.
Erdogan’s statements generated irritation and thus, for example, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in Berlin that the two issues were not related to each other and therefore should not be linked.
“The other issue is not related to that. And that’s why I don’t think it should be seen as a related issue,” he said of Turkey’s EU membership negotiations.
In Vilnius, the meeting between Stoltenberg, Erdogan and Kristerssen was interrupted due to a bilateral meeting between the Turkish president and the permanent president of the European Council, Charles Michel, who later tried to smooth things over with a message in which he spoke of intensifying EU cooperation. with Ankara.
“We explore the opportunities that lie ahead to bring EU-Turkey cooperation back to the fore and revitalize our relations,” Michel summarized on his official Twitter profile.
On the other hand, the sale by the United States to Turkey of the F-16 combat aircraft has entered the equation in recent hours so that Sweden could join NATO, although US sources deny that it is a “quid”. pro quo”.
According to these sources told EFE, the government of US President Joe Biden believes that Sweden should join the Alliance as soon as possible and also believes that it is in the latter’s interest for Turkey to have F-16s, whose sale to Ankara has been blocked by the US Congress.
Until now both issues had been dealt with separately by the US Executive, but Biden himself linked them in an interview with broadcast yesterday, Sunday.
“Turkey wants F-16 modernization and (Greek Prime Minister Kiriakos) Mitsotakis in Greece is also looking for help. So, frankly, what I’m trying to do is a small consortium where we strengthen NATO in terms of military capacity for both Greece and Turkey and allow Sweden to integrate,” Biden said.
Sweden and Finland changed the position of neutrality that they had maintained for three decades and, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, applied to join NATO.
Finland became the 31st member of the Alliance in April 2023.