Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg has welcomed an announcement that Turkey has given the green light to bids from Finland and Sweden to join his military alliance of Western nations.
Speaking after the agreement was signed, Stoltenberg says the three countries have signed a memo that “addresses Turkey’s concerns, including around arms exports and the fight against terrorism,” according to remarks quoted by Reuters.
“I am pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Madrid.
Finland’s President Niinisto said the breakthrough came after the three countries signed a joint memorandum “to extend their full support against threats to each other’s security” after meeting at the Nato summit in Madrid.
The readiness of Turkey to back Sweden and Finland’s Nato membership is a significant move from the opposition initially expressed by President Erdogan.
Back in May Ankara accused them of protecting Kurdish terrorists.
“Neither of these countries have a clear, open attitude towards terrorist organisation. How can we trust them?” Mr Erdogan said at the time.
The statement by Finland’s president says that “as a Nato member, Finland will commit fully to the counterterrorism documents and policies of Nato.”
The AFP news agency reported that the Turkish presidency “got what it wanted” from the Madrid talks.