NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo/REUTERS
BRUSSELS – Sweden’s path to becoming a member of NATO may become clearer after the upcoming elections in Turkey. The election was called a threat to the leadership of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg revealed that prediction to Politico.
“My goal remains that after Turkey’s elections, but before the Vilnius summit, we can also ratify Sweden,” the NATO chief said in comments published by the outlet on Thursday (30/3/2023), referring to the annual meeting of alliance leaders in Lithuania on Thursday. July.
Sweden applied to join NATO alongside Scandinavian neighbor Finland last May. But when Finland’s application was ratified this month by Erdogan’s government, Stockholm’s offer was rejected.
The delay is related to the ongoing dispute over Sweden’s support of the Kurdish group which Turkey designates as a terrorist organization.
Last year, Sweden also suspended arms sales to Ankara following Turkey’s launch of an offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Syria. Hungary has also so far not voted to ratify NATO membership for Sweden.
With Erdogan’s post seen as hanging in the balance ahead of May elections, however, Stoltenberg said this could present an opportunity to remove a major obstacle in the way of NATO’s application for Stockholm.
Stoltenberg warned, however, that he could not provide “guarantees” in the name of a “sovereign national parliament.”
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