NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Monday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to support Sweden’s membership in NATO, which he had been blocking for more than a year.
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The official said, following a meeting with the Turkish leader and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, on the eve of the NATO summit in Vilnius.
“The completion of Sweden’s membership in NATO is a historic step that benefits the security of all NATO allies at this critical time. It makes us all stronger and safer,” Jens Stoltenberg told a press conference.
Hours earlier, the Turkish leader linked his support for Sweden’s bid for NATO to his country’s accession talks to the European Union.
Mr. Erdogan held talks with European Council President Charles Michel in the evening, during which the two sides agreed to “revitalize” relations between Turkey and the European Union, according to the European leader.
Mr. Stoltenberg also noted that Sweden agreed “as a member of the European Union, to actively support efforts to reinvigorate Turkey’s accession process into the European Union and to contribute to the modernization of the EU-Turkey Customs Union Agreement and visa liberalization.”
Turkey, still an official candidate, submitted its candidacy in 1987 for membership in the European Economic Community and in 1999 for membership in the European Union, but EU membership negotiations that began in 2005 stalled for several years.