Turkey finally agreed to Sweden and Finland joining NATO.
A deadlock that had threatened to overshadow a leaders’ meeting beginning in Madrid amid Europe’s biggest security crisis in decades, brought on by the conflict in Ukraine, was resolved on Tuesday when Turkey decided to drop its objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO.
Alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that “we now have an agreement that opens the path for Finland and Sweden to join NATO” after hurried summit meetings with the presidents of the three nations. It was “a historic decision,” he said.
President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has had several devastating effects, but among them is that Sweden and Finland have abandoned their long-held nonaligned status and applied to join NATO to defend themselves against an increasingly aggressive and unpredictable Russia — which shares a long border with Finland.
According to NATO treaties, an assault on one member would be seen as an attack on all, and the whole alliance would launch a military response.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, threatened to scuttle the Nordic alliance by pressing them to shift their position on the Kurdish rebel groups that Turkey views as terrorists. NATO runs by consensus.
On Tuesday, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö announced that the three leaders had signed a common accord to end the impasse after days of negotiations and weeks of diplomacy.
Including “complete collaboration… in the war against” the rebel groups, Turkey said it had “received what it desired.”
On Wednesday, the 30 member nations of the alliance will formally invite the two nations to join, according to Stoltenberg. However, the decision still has to be approved by each country.
But he expressed his “100% confidence” that Finland and Sweden will join, which may happen in the next months.
According to Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, the deal is “excellent news for Sweden and Finland. And NATO benefits from it.”
The sooner the membership procedure is finished, she said, the better.
Andersson told the Associated Press, “But there are 30 parliaments that need to accept this, and you never know.”
According to Turkey, the Nordic countries agreed to take action against organizations that Ankara views as risks to national security.
It includes the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and its Syrian affiliate, which welcomed Tuesday’s agreement as a victory. They also agreed, according to the statement, to take “concrete efforts on the extradition of terrorist convicts” and “not to impose embargo limitations in the sector of military industry” on Turkey.
Following Turkey’s military invasion into northeast Syria in 2019, Finland and Sweden were forced to adopt stricter gun control laws that have since been lifted in response to Turkish demands.
Turkey pledged “to support the offer of Finland and Sweden to join NATO at the 2022 Madrid Summit.”
The specifics of what was agreed upon were vague. Amineh Kakabaveh, a Kurdish-born independent legislator in Sweden who the government relies on for a majority in Parliament, said it was “worrisome” that Sweden was keeping Erdogan’s demands secret.
Andersson rejected the advice Finland and Sweden had made too many concessions.
When asked whether the deal would be seen as a compromise by the Swedish people on topics like the extradition of Kurdish militants who are considered terrorists by Ankara, Andersson said, “They will understand that this is important for the security of Sweden.”
President of the United States Joe Biden commended the three countries for taking a “crucial step.”
Eric is a professional news editor, writer, and blogger for the last 10 years. He is working with NewsGater as an off-beat news editor cum writer.