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Türkiye agrees to move ahead with Sweden’s NATO bid: Stoltenberg

Türkiye has agreed to forward to parliament Sweden’s bid to join the NATO military alliance, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said 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 on Monday.

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.

Türkiye’s approval came after Stockholm agreed to establish a bilateral security mechanism with Ankara, Stoltenberg said. Sweden will also support Türkiye’s EU process, visa liberalisation and efforts to update Customs Union, he added.

He said NATO was establishing, for the first time, the post of Special Counter-Terrorism Coordinator.

Sweden reiterated it will not support terrorist organisations YPG/PYD and FETO, a joint statement said after the meeting between Türkiye, Sweden, and the NATO chief.

Allies hail Türkiye’s decision

US President Joe Biden has welcomed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s agreement to support Sweden’s application to join NATO.

“I stand ready to work with President Erdogan and Türkiye on enhancing defense and deterrence in the Euro-Atlantic area,” Biden said in a statement, adding: “I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Kristersson and Sweden as our 32nd NATO ally.”

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also welcome the decision, saying: “The path for Türkiye’s ratification of Sweden’s membership of NATO is finally clear,” Baerbock wrote on Twitter, hailing the “good news from Vilnius”.

British Premier Sunak calls Türkiye’s decision “an historic moment for NATO that makes us all safer”.

Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership soon after the start of Russia-Ukraine conflict in February 2022. Türkiye has approved Finland’s membership to NATO.

To join NATO, Sweden needs the approval of all of its current members, including Türkiye, which has been in the alliance for over 70 years and boasts its second-largest army.

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