Home of Lisa's Top Ten, the daily email that brings you the world.
The first task of the day

Sign Up for Lisa's Top Ten


Turkey Agrees to Support Sweden’s Bid for NATO Membership

Image: Reuters
Image: Reuters

Turkey agreed to clear the path for Sweden to become a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), marking a historic move in Western European national security.

According to reports, the announcement came just hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the European Union (EU) should first advance Turkey's bid to join the EU bloc.

NATO's Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, said this week that he supports Turkey's desire to join the EU but that it was not the conditions set by officials from Turkey, Sweden, and Finland at a NATO summit in Madrid last year.

On Twitter, Secretary General Stoltenberg announced Turkey's decision from Vilnius, Lithuania, where the organization is preparing to begin its annual summit this week.

"Glad to announce that after the meeting I hosted with @RTErdogan & @SwedishPM, President Erdogan has agreed to forward #Sweden's accession protocol to the Grand National Assembly ASAP & ensure ratification," Stoltenberg said on Twitter.

"This is a historic step which makes all #NATO Allies stronger & safer," he added.

"It is time to stop playing Erdogan's game. Erdogan has humiliated NATO and brought the defensive alliance to its knees so he can swagger before his own domestic audience," explained Michael Rubin, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who specializes in Iran, Turkey, and the broader Middle East.

"Now there's talk about giving him the ability to do the same thing with the European Union," Rubin told The Foreign Desk.

"That's like drinking water that consistently gives you dysentery and saying, 'You know what? This seems like a good place for a swim,'" he added.

In a public statement released by NATO, the organization said Erdogan met Monday with Stoltenberg and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to talk about the country's bid, which had been blocked by Turkey's demands that Sweden crackdown on Kurdish dissidents whom Turkey considers terrorists, including pro-Kurdish activists and members of a religious group that Turkey has accused of planning a coup attempt several years ago.

Rubin notes that giving Turkey "any toe in the door on the EU also throws Cyprus, a country that Turkey continues to occupy, under the bus."

"It is not diplomatic brilliance; rather, it is shameful. The fact that Biden and NATO cannot tell the difference is truly tragic," he said.

According to the NATO statement, Turkey and Sweden agreed that "counterterrorism cooperation is a long-term effort" and will "continue beyond Sweden's accession to NATO."

Stoltenberg also noted that while Hungary is the only other NATO member that has yet to approve of Sweden's push, Hungarian officials have stated that if Turkey agrees to the bid, they will not prevent the process from continuing.

The latest action came as Finland joined NATO in April, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year.

According to experts, Russia's actions have brought NATO allies together and changed the minds of neutral European countries like Sweden and Finland to join NATO to defend themselves from Russian aggression.

Related Story: Biden Says NATO Can Consider Membership for Ukraine After War with Russia Ends

Related Posts