NATO Summit: Erdogan on the Way to Sweden’s Accession

The NATO summit in Vilnius (Lithuania) opens today. And the first news coming from the Baltic countries is related to Turkey’s consent to Sweden’s entry into the Atlantic Alliance.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised his tone a few hours before the meeting, explaining that he would support the entry of Sweden, the last northern country that is still neutral, into NATO, only after Ankara’s accession to the EU. “They have been keeping us at the gate for 50 years,” explained the Turkish president, raising the bar and bluffing (partially).

In fact, Jens Stoltenberg announced that Turkey would approve Sweden’s accession, while news are coming from Stockholm that Turkey’s accession to the European Union will be supported.

“I am pleased to announce that President Erdogan has agreed to allow Sweden accession to NATO as soon as possible. We have been able to reconcile the concerns of Turkey and Sweden, and now we have made progress in an agreed text on how to implement the fight against terrorism, work together as allies, and secure the removal of restrictions on arms exports from Stockholm to Ankara.” This is what follows from the summit between the representatives of Turkey, Sweden, and the Secretary of the Atlantic Alliance.

The mention of terrorism is due to the fact that Ankara accuses Sweden of providing asylum to banned Kurdish groups, which it considers to be “terrorists”. A new anti-terrorism law passed in recent months by the Swedish parliament and the extradition of certain suspected PKK fighters effectively became a bargaining chip for Erdogan to lift the veto.