Monday, July 22, 2024

Sweden and Finland’s  Memorandum With Türkiye Paves the Way for NATO Membership

Washington, DC – President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Türkiye, President Sauli Niinistö of Finland, and Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden signed a trilateral memorandum in Madrid today (June 28), clearing the path forward for Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership.

The leaders agreed to address Türkiye’s legitimate security concerns in today’s meeting. The memorandum was signed by the foreign ministers of the three countries – Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu of Türkiye, Pekka Haavisto of Finland, and Ann Linde of Sweden – in the presence of all three national leaders and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Stoltenberg welcomed the signing of this trilateral memorandum, saying, “I strongly welcome the constructive approach all three countries have shown during the negotiations. Finnish and Swedish membership of NATO is good for Finland and Sweden, it is good for NATO, and it is good for European security.”

In a statement, Niinistö said, “Over the past weeks, Türkiye has raised its concerns over the threat of terrorism. Finland has constantly taken these concerns seriously. Finland condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. As a NATO member, Finland will commit fully to the counterterrorism documents and policies of NATO. As we enhance our cooperation on counterterrorism, arms exports, and extraditions, Finland naturally continues to operate according to its national legislation. I am delighted to conclude this stage on Finland’s road to NATO membership. I now look forward to fruitful conversations on Finland’s role in NATO with our future Allies here in Madrid.”

The Swedish Prime Minister’s office tweeted, “Key memorandum just reached between Sweden, Finland and Türkyie. Paves way for Swedish accession to NATO.”

President Biden, in a statement, said, “I congratulate Turkey, Finland and Sweden on signing a trilateral memorandum, which paves the way for Allies to invite Finland and Sweden to join NATO at the Madrid Summit. I look forward to working with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, our Allies, and with Congress to ensure that we can quickly welcome them into our Alliance. As we begin this historic NATO Summit in Madrid, our Alliance is stronger, more united and more resolute than ever.”

Finland and Sweden formally submitted their applications to join NATO on May 18 of this year. Finland and Sweden’s applications to NATO signaled a dramatic shift from their historically neutral positions.

Erdogan was quick to block a procedural vote in May on NATO moving ahead with Sweden and Finland’s membership applications, citing their support for “terrorist organizations” in their countries – namely the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

NATO membership is open to any “European state in a position to further the principles of the [North Atlantic] Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area.” The Treaty’s Article 10 also states that any decision on enlargement must be made “by unanimous agreement.”

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