Turkey clears the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO – Stoltenberg


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference during a NATO summit in Brussels on June 14, 2021.

Olivier Hoslet/Getty Images

Turkey has agreed to support Finland and Sweden’s bids for NATO membership, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.

“I am pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that clears the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Madrid.

“Turkey, Finland and Sweden have signed a memorandum addressing Turkey’s concerns, including over arms exports and the fight against terrorism,” he added.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said Turkey “got what it wanted” from Sweden and Finland before agreeing to support their pursuit of joining the NATO defense alliance.

“Turkey has made significant progress in the fight against terrorist organizations,” the Turkish statement said, adding: “Turkey got what it wanted.”

The two Nordic countries agreed to “fully cooperate with Turkey in its fight against the PKK” and other Kurdish militant groups, the statement said.

They have also agreed to lift their embargoes on arms supplies to Turkey, which were imposed in response to Ankara’s 2019 military incursion into Syria.

The two countries will ban “fundraising and recruiting activities” for the Kurdish militants and “prevent terrorist propaganda against Turkey,” Erdogan’s office said.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been waging a rebellion for decades against the Turkish state that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

The PKK is classified as a terrorist organization by Ankara and most of its Western allies.

But the group’s Syrian offshoot, the YPG, has been a key player in the US-led international alliance against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Additional reporting by AFP

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