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1st Dec 2022

Finland and Sweden to join Nato, as Erdoğan drops veto

  • Ratification due to take several months by national parliaments (Photo: Nato)
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Turkey has agreed to let Finland and Sweden join Nato after a deal on Kurdish separatists and arms exports.

The foreign ministers of the three countries signed the joint memorandum on Nato accession at the alliance's summit in Madrid on Tuesday (28 June).

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"Finland and Sweden will not provide support to YPG/PYD [a Kurdish group] and the organisation described as FETÖ [an overseas-based Muslim group] in Türkiye," it said.

They will also "step up activity" in the fight against Kurdish group PKK, which the EU has designated a "terrorist" entity.

And they will "confirm that now there are no national arms embargoes in place" on weapons exports to Turkey, even though it might use them in ongoing fighting inside Syria.

Sweden confirmed it had altered its laws to criminalise more types of pro-Kurdish activism.

Both Nordic states even agreed to "address Türkiye's pending deportation and extradition requests" of Kurdish leaders, while noting this had to be done in line with European due process.

"Tomorrow [Wednesday] allied leaders will make a decision to invite Finland and Sweden to join Nato, to become Nato members. And following this summit, Finland and Sweden will become invitees", Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said while announcing the breakthrough at a meeting of the Turkish, Finnish, and Swedish leaders in Spain.

Invitees can attend almost all Nato meetings and take the floor, but have no decision-making powers.

They will be covered by Nato's Article V mutual defence clause after ratification of their membership by the 30 Nato allies — a process due to take several months.

"If you just look at the map, you understand that it will change the whole security situation in the Baltic region. With Finland and Sweden .... close to the Baltic, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia — it will really strengthen our presence in that part of the world," Stoltenberg added.

Russia had threatened dire consequences if Nato took in any more members prior to launching its invasion of Ukraine.

It subsequently toned down its rhetoric on Nordic enlargement, but Stoltenberg still pointed out the irorny of the developments.

"Well, this is a Finnish and Swedish decision," he said, underlining the fact that Russian president Vladimir Putin had no veto on neighbouring countries' paths.

"He wanted less Nato. Now president Putin is getting more Nato on his borders. So what he gets is the opposite of what he actually demanded," Stoltenberg said.

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