NATO's Stoltenberg says Turkey agrees to move ahead with Sweden's NATO bid

  • World
  • Tuesday, 11 Jul 2023

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan waves as he leaves after his meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, on the eve of a NATO summit, in Vilnius, Lithuania July 10, 2023. REUTERS/Yves Herman

VILNIUS (Reuters) -Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to forward to parliament Sweden's bid to join the NATO military alliance, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday, on the eve of a NATO summit in Vilnius.

"I'm glad to announce ... that President Erdogan has agreed to forward the accession protocol for Sweden to the grand national assembly as soon as possible, and work closely with the assembly to ensure ratification," Stoltenberg told a news conference.

Stoltenberg declined to give a date for when Sweden's accession would be ratified by the Turkish parliament, the grand national assembly, which would decide on the exact timing.

Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO last year, casting aside policies of military non-alignment that had lasted through the decades of the Cold War as Russia's invasion of Ukraine reframed security considerations.

Applications to the alliance must be approved by all NATO members and while Finland's was given the go-ahead in April, Turkey and Hungary have held off on clearing Sweden's bid.

Stockholm has been working hard at its bid ahead of the NATO summit in Vilnius, together with the United States and its allies, urging Turkey to abandon its opposition.

Erdogan has said Sweden harbours members of militant groups, mainly supporters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who he accuses of organising demonstrations and financing terrorist groups, while anti-Turkish protests in Stockholm have also raised his ire.

Meanwhile, Sweden has said it has fulfilled all the demands agreed upon in negotiations with Turkey last year, including introducing a new bill that makes being a member of a terrorist organization illegal, and stressed freedom of speech is protected in its constitution.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff said on Thursday that Budapest would not block Sweden's NATO membership ratification.

(Reporting by John Irish and Sabine Siebold; additional reporting by Johan Ahlander and Anna Ringstrom; writing by Justyna Pawlak and Niklas Pollard)

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

Next In World

India tech hub state Karnataka approves bill to reserve jobs for locals
Google-backed AI startup Cropin wants to predict future of food
US robbery suspect posted photos of himself that helped the cops find him
North Korea installing more landmines despite accidents, South Korea says
French Greens leader urges left to stop 'shameful' infighting
Thai court to make decision on Move Forward dissolution on August 7
Amazon advertising portal crashes, disrupting Prime Day sale
Ukrainians with windows shattered by war get cheaper, safer refits
You can now get discounts by haggling with AI chatbots
At least five killed in gold mine collapse in northern Kenya

Others Also Read