Turkey Lifts Veto on Finland, Sweden, Joining NATO

(L-R front row) Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Finland and Sweden signing an agreement on Tuesday to unblock the Turkish veto on the Nordic countries joining NATO in the presence of NATO Secretary General Jens Stolteneberg (4r); Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (3r); the President of Finland, Sauli Niinisto (2r), and the Swedish Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson (r), in Madrid, 28 June 2022. Photo: EPA-EFE/Kiko Huesca

"We now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO," NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said late on Tuesday, thanking the Turkish, Finnish and Swedish leaders "for the constructive spirit that made this historic decision possible".

Finland and Sweden signed a trilateral memorandum with Turkey on Tuesday, pledging to address Ankara's concerns over their stance toward the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK and the followers of exiled Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen, to pave the way for their NATO membership.

No press statement was issued after the signing ceremony in Spain.

"Finland and Sweden will not provide support to YPG/PYD [Turkey's name for Syrian Kurdish forces], and the organization described as 'FETO' in Turkey," the memorandum wrote.

Finland and Sweden also confirmed that theu see the PKK as a proscribed terrorist organization. The memorandum added: "Finland and Sweden will investigate and interdict any financing and recruitment activities of the PKK and all other terrorist organizations and their extensions, as well affiliates or inspired groups or networks."

The Nordic countries also pledged to lift all arms embargoes against Turkey and to establish joint security mechanisms.

In return, Turkey confirmed "its long-standing support for NATO's Open Door...

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