Turkish President Erdogan Backs Sweden’s NATO Bid

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan shakes hands with Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde next to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (2nd L), Finland's President Sauli Niinisto (3rd R) and Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson after signing a memorandum in which Türkiye agrees to Finland and Sweden's NATO membership, in Madrid, Spain, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to back Sweden’s bid to join NATO after a year of blocking the move, citing Turkish security concerns.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Monday that Erdogan agreed to forward Sweden’s membership bid to Turkey’s parliament.

After talks in Vilnius, Lithuania, with Erdogan and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Stoltenberg said Turkey had agreed to move forward.

“I’m glad to announce … 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 said at a news conference.

“This is a historic day.”

NATO membership requires the approval of all of the military alliance’s members. Turkey has held up Sweden’s NATO accession since last year, accusing Stockholm of harbouring Kurdish activists Ankara regards as “terrorists”.

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