Stoltenberg announces Turkey’s agreement to advance Sweden’s NATO membership bid

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to push forward Sweden’s bid to join the NATO military alliance, according to Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Stoltenberg made the announcement on Monday, ahead of a NATO summit in Vilnius.

Stoltenberg did not provide a specific date for when the Turkish parliament, the Grand National Assembly, would ratify Sweden’s accession. The parliament holds the authority to determine the exact timing.

“Turkey and Sweden have agreed today to establish a new bilateral security compact. NATO will also significantly intensify its work in this area, and for the first time, I will appoint a special coordinator for counter-terrorism at NATO. Sweden’s accession to NATO is a historic step that enhances the security of all NATO allies during this critical time. It strengthens us all and makes us safer,” Stoltenberg stated.

Last year, Sweden and Finland submitted applications to join NATO, abandoning their long-held policies of military non-alignment that had persisted throughout the Cold War. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reshaped security considerations in the region.

Membership applications require approval from all NATO members, and while Finland received the green light in April, Turkey and Hungary have delayed granting their approval to Sweden’s bid.