Leaders of NATO officially welcomed Finland and Sweden to the fold on Wednesday, after both countries signed an agreement to pursue membership; due to a lifted veto by Turkey.
Prior to the headliner, both countries made security pledges to win Turkey’s acceptance of their bids for membership. A meeting held in Madrid on Tuesday between NATO, Turkey, Finland and Sweden proved just enough to secure their memberships; with the alliance seen as a major expansion in recent times.
The agreed memorandum between Turkey and both Nordic countries showed how Russian President Vladimir Putin has suffered from the war declared on Ukraine. Efforts to weaken NATO now look abased; moreso compelling neutrals like Finland and Sweden to push for membership. Turkey President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, requested that the agreement be subject to both countries tabling a set of actions and promises to act against terrorism and terrorist organisations. He made this clear after meetings that spanned weeks up until the agreement in Madrid.
The news was further confirmed by NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, who highlighted details of the agreement made.
‘As NATO allies, Finland and Sweden commit to fully support Turkey against threats to its national security.
‘This includes further amending their domestic legislation, cracking down on P.K.K. activities and entering into an agreement with Turkey on extradition,’ he said in reference to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party which seeks an independent Kurdish state on territory partly within Turkey’s borders.
Sweden’s bid for membership has been halted by Erdogan due to concerns of their support for the P.K.K. which is an outlawed group; and deemed as a terrorist organisation by the United States and European Union.
On the memorandum, there was no particular reference to the extradition of 45 (or more) people tipped to face trial for acts of terrorism; as desired by the Turkish President. Nonetheless, a stiffer legislative ruling has been passed by Sweden–to take effect July 1, in a bid to fight against terrorism.
The decision to join NATO has been tied to growing concerns of vulnerability by both Finland and Sweden, following the invasion of a neighbouring country—Ukraine—by Russia. Both counties who remained non-aligned for several years will now become members of the organisation.