Erdogan lifts veto on Sweden and Finland joining NATO
A day before the official start of the NATO summit in Madrid, the transatlantic organization has shown strong unity by overcoming the main stumbling block of the meeting. Turkey (or Türkiye, as the want to be calle from now on) lifted a veto that threatened to paralyze the Atlantic Alliance’s enlargement to northern Europe. The new members require the unanimity of all 30 member states.
After a meeting lasting more than three hours, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a memorandum of understanding that would include Turkey’s demands. The meeting was also attended by the Secretary General of the organization, Jens Stoltenberg, as mediator.
Until their accession treaty is ratified by all 30 member states, the two Nordic countries will be invited to participate in all meetings of the organization, but will not have voting rights and will not yet be able to benefit from the collective defense provided for in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
From the Turkish president’s office, it is stressed that Turkey “got what it wanted” from Sweden and Finland. “Turkey has made significant progress in the fight against terrorist organizations. Turkey got what it wanted,” the official statement adds.
Stockholm and Helsinki commit to modify their national anti-terrorist legislations, toughen the fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), lift the arms embargo and sign an extradition treaty with Ankara.
The pact with Turkey may result in the imminent deportation from Sweden of a dozen people with links to the PKK, considered a terrorist organization by both the EU and the United States. The Swedish Security Police (Säpo) has a list of “at least a dozen” people who may be linked to this organization considered a terrorist organization by both the EU and the US.
The truth is that the staging in Madrid was somewhat confusing. At a table seated the foreign ministers of Sweden, Finland and Turkey, flanked by their heads of government and Stoltenberg, signed folders passed to them by their advisors without uttering a word. All in all, the image will go down in history as a historic rapprochement with NATO by two countries that until last February preferred to stay out of any military alignment.
Erdogan is also scheduled to meet tonight with US President Joe Biden, in a meeting that could be the final push to smooth out Turkey’s resistance to the accession of Sweden and Finland. Ankara’s priority at the moment is for Washington to unblock the sale of F-16 fighter jets, stalled after Turkey bought the Russian S-400 air defense system.