Turkey agrees to support Sweden and Finland's NATO bids

Erdogan's change of mind comes after the three nations held a meeting at a NATO summit

Updated: June 28, 2022 - 3:28pm

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Turkey agreed to let Sweden and Finland join NATO on Tuesday, less than two months after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that he would not allow the two Nordic countries to join the security alliance.

Erdogan's change of heart comes after the three nations held a meeting in Madrid at a NATO summit.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto posted a statement on Twitter about the meeting with Erdogan and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, which NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg facilitated.

"As a result of that meeting, our foreign ministers signed a trilateral memorandum which confirms that Turkey will at the Madrid summit this week support the invitation of Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO," the president announced.

He acknowledged that Turkey originally opposed Sweden and Finland's membership because of concerns that the Nordic countries were not strict enough on 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," Niinisto vowed.

Since the end of World War II, Finland and Sweden have been mostly neutral. Their bids to join NATO come after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin previously warned that Moscow will escalate military tensions in the region if Finland and Sweden join the security organization.

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