Sweden strikes deal with Turkey over Nato membership

TT/The Local
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Sweden strikes deal with Turkey over Nato membership
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (right) shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) after striking a deal over ratifying Sweden's Nato membership. Photo: AFP

Sweden has finally won the backing of Turkey's President Erdogan for its Nato membership, with a deal struck on the eve of the alliance's Vilnius summit opening the way for Turkish ratification "as soon as possible".


"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," Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after the deal was struck. "This is a historic step which makes all Nato allies stronger and safer." 

At the press conference, Sweden's prime minister Ulf Kristersson, said it had been "a long day in a long journey towards Swedish membership". 

"I am extremely happy," he said. "This is a good day for Sweden". 

In a separate joint statement, Sweden repeated its commitments to help Turkey in its "fight against terrorism" making an addition pledge to support Turkey's in its long-stalled efforts to join the EU. 

"Sweden will actively support efforts to reinvigorate Turkiye's EU accession process, including modernisation of the EU-Turkiye Customs Union and
visa liberalisation," the statement said.

In return, Turkey said it "will transmit the Accession Protocol for Sweden to the Grand National Assembly, and work closely with the Assembly to ensure ratification."

Turkey has been holding up Sweden's application to join the Atlantic alliance, accusing Stockholm of harbouring Kurdish activists Ankara regards as

And on Monday, Erdogan upped the stakes further, demanding that the European Union revive Turkey's stalled EU membership bid as a precondition for Sweden joining Nato.

Shortly before the deal was announced Erdogan interrupted his talks with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to hold talks with Charles Michel, the President of the EU Council. 

Michel hailed a "good meeting", adding that they had "explored opportunities ahead to bring EU-Turkey cooperation back to the forefront and re-energise our relations".

Turkey has been a formal candidate to join the European Union since 2005, and an aspirant since long before that, but talks have long been stalled with little sign of life.


US President Joe Biden welcomed the agreement. 

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

"The path for Turkey's ratification of Sweden's membership of Nato is finally clear," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote on Twitter, hailing the "good news from Vilnius".


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