The Alliance has sent official invitations to join NATO to Helsinki and Stockholm. The accession process is expected to take several months.
NATO has officially invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, DW correspondent reported from the summit in Madrid on Wednesday, June 29.
“We reaffirm our commitment to NATO’s open door policy. Today we decided to invite Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO and agreed to sign accession protocols. The accession of Finland and Sweden will make them safer, NATO stronger, and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure,” the alliance said in a communiqué.
It will take several months before the countries become official members of NATO, dpa news agency reported. According to the regulations, the accession protocols must be signed next Tuesday, July 5. After that, they will have to be ratified by all 30 NATO member states. The agency estimates that this could take six to eight months.
Turkiye has approved the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO
The main obstacle to Finland and Sweden joining NATO was Turkiye’s position. Ankara refused to approve the request of the two countries, accusing them of political and financial support of organizations recognized as terrorist in Turkey.
The two sides were able to reach an agreement the day before. The countries signed a joint memorandum after talks in Madrid. Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said Turkey got “what it wanted” from both countries: Helsinki and Stockholm reportedly promised “full cooperation” in the fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and recognition as a terrorist group of the movement of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses of the 2016 coup attempt.
Scandinavian countries also agreed to lift an arms embargo on Turkiye imposed in 2019 in response to its military intervention in Syria, Ankara said.
The signed agreement says the three sides will form a joint mechanism to strengthen cooperation in the fight against terrorism, while Finland and Sweden “will take all necessary steps to further tighten domestic legislation” on the issue, Reuters reported.
Turkiye has already announced it will repeat its request to Sweden and Finland to extradite 33 people whom Ankara considers terrorists. A similar request was denied by the countries in May.