What Turkey’s support for Sweden and Finland’s bid into NATO means

What Turkey’s support for Sweden and Finland’s bid into NATO means
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberga, Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu react after signing a document during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, June 28, 2022. REUTERS/Violeta Santos Moura

Without the agreement of all NATO members, new countries can’t join the security group. With that, Turkey, a key NATO member, has previously said that if Sweden and Finland sought membership into the security alliance, it would oppose their bids. This is because Turkey’s President Erdogan says that the two Nordic countries harbor members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group Turkey views as a terrorist organization.

Now, Turkey has agreed to back the two countries’ applications into NATO after all three countries signed an agreement addressing Turkey’s worries, including lifting bans on selling weapons to Turkey and fighting terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations." Leaders of states have welcomed the move, as has NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg who said that Russia was getting the opposite of what it wanted, which was “less NATO."

Key comments:

“He wanted less NATO – now President Putin is getting more NATO on its borders. So what he gets is the opposite of what he actually demanded."

“We will continue our fight against terrorism and as NATO members, also do so with closer cooperation with Turkey," said Sweden’s Magdalena Andersson to Agence France-Presse.

“Fantastic news as we kick off the Nato summit," tweeted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “Sweden and Finland’s membership will make our brilliant alliance stronger and safer."