“I am delighted to announce that we have an agreement which paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO” and which addresses “Turkey’s concerns about arms exports and the fight against terrorism,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters.
NATO members will therefore be able to officially “invite” the two Nordic countries to join the Alliance on Wednesday, he added.
In a statement released by the White House, US President Joe Biden “congratulated Turkey, Finland and Sweden” for signing this agreement. The integration of Finland and Sweden will “strengthen the collective security of NATO and will benefit the entire transatlantic Alliance”, wrote Mr. Biden. “As we begin this historic summit in Madrid, our Alliance is stronger, more united and more determined than ever,” he continued.
The formal entry of the two countries, which must be ratified by the parliaments of the 30 member states of the Alliance, is a long process that takes months.
After several rounds of negotiations in recent weeks, the strongman of Ankara had met several hours upon his arrival in Madrid with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
Before the formal signing of an agreement which Mr. Stoltenberg then reported to the press.
– Ankara got “what it wanted” –
Turkey was blocking the membership of Sweden and Finland because it accused them of harboring militants of the Kurdish organization PKK, which it considers “terrorist”.
She also denounced the presence in these countries of supporters of the preacher Fethullah Gülen, suspected of having orchestrated an attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016.
And also demanded the lifting of the blockades of arms exports decided against him by Stockholm after the Turkish military intervention in northern Syria in October 2019.
According to Mr. Stoltenberg, as part of this agreement, the two Nordic countries pledged to “strengthen their cooperation” in the fight against terrorism with Ankara and to agree on “extraditions” of members of Kurdish organizations. whom Turkey regards as “terrorists”.
“Turkey got what it wanted”, that is to say the “full cooperation” of the Nordic countries against the PKK and its allies, said the Turkish presidency in its press release.
In an interview with AFP, Magdalena Andersson hailed a “very important step for NATO” because the two Nordic countries, which have decided to abandon their neutrality since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, “will be providers of security within the Alliance.
– “No concessions” from Washington –
This green light from Ankara to the entry of the two Nordic countries was immediately welcomed by a senior White House official, according to whom it gives a “powerful impetus” to Western unity in this troubled period by the war in Ukraine. .
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for his part, considered that the accession of the two Nordic countries would make the Alliance “stronger and more secure”.
Washington has asserted that Turkey has not made “any particular request for concessions from the Americans” to lift its opposition to the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO.
Mr. Erdogan is due to meet Joe Biden on the sidelines of the summit on Wednesday.
Before leaving for Madrid, the Turkish president had stressed that the “most important subject” between Ankara and Washington was “that of the F-16”, in reference to the fighter planes ordered and partially paid for by Ankara, but from which Washington suspended the delivery contract after Turkey acquired a Russian S-400 defense system.
The last meeting between MM. Biden and Erdogan, after months of falling out between Ankara and Washington, go back to last October in Rome, on the sidelines of the G-20, the summit of the 20 most industrialized countries.