NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg made no breakthrough on Sunday in talks about Sweden’s membership in the military organization with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with officials from the two countries to meet in just over a week to try to bridge their differences.
After meeting with Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday in Istanbul, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Sweden has fulfilled its obligations regarding Turkey’s security concerns and hopes the country will be able to join NATO in the coming weeks.
At a press conference following the meeting, the Secretary-General said, “We still have time to achieve this at the allies’ summit” in Vilnius on 11 and 12 July. What we have seen is that Sweden has implemented the agreement that President Erodgan negotiated with Sweden and Finland at the [NATO] summit in Madrid [in June 2022].”
He added that the Scandinavian country has since amended its constitution, strengthened anti-terrorism legislation, and lifted its arms embargo. “It is now as easy to export military equipment from Sweden to Turkey as it is to any other NATO ally,” Stoltenberg said.
Finland joined NATO at the beginning of April while neighbouring Sweden is still awaiting the go-ahead from Turkey and Hungary.
To advance Sweden’s NATO membership, representatives from Turkey, Finland and Sweden will meet on the 12th of June, Stoltenberg added.
NATO wants to bring Sweden into the fold by the time U.S. President Joe Biden and other allied leaders meet in Lithuania on July 11-12, but Turkey and Hungary have yet to endorse the move. All 31 member countries must ratify a candidate’s accession protocol for it to join the trans-Atlantic alliance.