NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Sunday that Turkey and Sweden have agreed to hold another meeting later this month, signaling progress in Sweden’s bid to join the alliance. Stoltenberg made the announcement following talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul, where he emphasized that Sweden has taken significant steps to address Turkey’s concerns.
The NATO chief stated that the meeting between Turkey and Sweden will take place during the week of June 12. Sweden, along with Finland, applied for NATO membership in May 2022. However, the parliamentary approval process for both countries was delayed by Turkey and Hungary. Eventually, Finland gained approval, while Turkey withheld consent for Sweden’s bid.
Stoltenberg highlighted the importance of Sweden’s accession to NATO, stating that it would enhance the security of Sweden, strengthen NATO, and make Turkey stronger. He expressed his eagerness to finalize Sweden’s membership as soon as possible.
Western officials are hopeful that Turkey will grant approval for Sweden’s membership now that the Turkish elections have concluded. There is growing pressure for both Ankara and Budapest to complete their parliamentary approval processes before the NATO summit in Vilnius next month.
Stoltenberg reiterated the urgency of approving Sweden’s membership ahead of the summit, emphasizing that there is still time to achieve this goal by the Vilnius meeting.
“The Vilnius summit provides an opportunity to make that happen,” Stoltenberg stated.
The outcome of the talks between Turkey and Sweden later this month will be closely watched, as it could pave the way for Sweden’s long-awaited accession to NATO.