BRUSELAS, 1 Jun. (EUROPA PRESS) –
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will redouble pressure on Turkey to complete Sweden’s NATO membership process with a new trip to Ankara in which he will ask President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to move forward with Swedish ratification once the presidential elections have passed.
“I spoke with President Erdogan earlier this week. And I always stress the importance of moving forward with Sweden’s accession. I will travel to Ankara in the near future to continue discussing how we can ensure Sweden’s fastest possible accession,” the president said. Former Norwegian Prime Minister speaking before the meeting of allied foreign ministers taking place in Oslo, Norway.
Stoltenberg, who has not specified when he will travel to Turkey, recalled that all the allies agreed to the entry of Sweden and Finland, which already received the green light from the 30 NATO members at the beginning of April, and that he now expects Turkey to finalize the Stockholm procedure “as soon as possible”.
Sweden’s membership of NATO would strengthen the security of the Nordic region, but also of all of NATO, including Turkey, the leader of the military organization has argued. Sweden’s entry into the Atlantic alliance has been delayed for months due to the reluctance of Ankara, which alleges a lack of cooperation in the fight against Kurdish terrorism and after exceeding all the deadlines, now the allies aspire for Sweden to be a full member for the leaders’ summit to be held in Lithuania on July 11 and 12.
Despite the trilateral agreement between Ankara, Stockholm and Helsinki on the eve of the allies’ summit in Madrid last June, Sweden has continued to be targeted by Turkey, in the middle of the electoral campaign for the presidential elections in which Erdogan has revalidated the position , and from Hungary, which has joined the veto citing European issues.
“Sweden has fulfilled all the commitments it made, including the new terrorist legislation that comes into force today,” claimed the Swedish Foreign Minister, Tobias Billstrom, upon arrival at the meeting in Oslo, insisting that it is now the turn of Turkey and Hungary to move piece.
In this sense, he has pointed to the meeting of the monitoring mechanism of the trilateral agreement between Sweden, Finland and Turkey that will meet in the coming weeks as the moment in which Ankara can definitively lift its veto. “After that meeting, the ratification will take place. This is not a sprint, but a marathon and now we see the end of the race,” she said.
Allied sources point out that there is a window of possibility for Turkey to process the pending ratification once its Parliament resumes activity after the elections, but they warn that it will soon enter the summer recess, so it may be necessary for Erdogan to convene a session extraordinary for NATO to achieve its goal of integrating Stockholm before the Vina leaders’ summit.
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