Turkey made a surprise pledge to drop its opposition to Sweden joining NATO, paving the way for the Nordic country to become a member of the Western military alliance.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Turkey had agreed to support Sweden’s NATO bid – by putting the issue to a vote in Parliament — in return for deeper cooperation on security issues and a promise from Sweden to revive Turkey’s quest for EU membership.
The agreement, which Stoltenberg heralded after talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, also says the two countries will step up trade and investment with each other.
Hungary, the only other NATO holdout on Sweden, is expected to drop its opposition, too. Hungary’s foreign minister said Tuesday that his country’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership was now just a “technical matter.”
Erdogan has been uncharacteristically quiet since the agreement was publicized, declining to comment on the reasons for his apparent change of heart.