Turkey lifts block on Finland and Sweden NATO bids

EuroActiv Politico News

MADRID — Turkey has lifted its objection to Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership applications, paving the way for the two countries to join the military alliance. 

The three countries signed a memorandum of understanding in Madrid on Tuesday evening, ahead of a summit of NATO leaders.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted a shift in public opinion across northern Europe toward NATO, leading Helsinki and Stockholm to formally apply for membership in mid-May. 

But the Turkish leadership, citing concerns over the countries’ alleged support for Kurdish groups and arms exports, blocked the process. 

On Tuesday, following weeks of talks, the three countries reached a deal.  

“Our foreign ministers signed a trilateral memorandum which confirms that Türkiye will at the Madrid Summit this week support the invitation of Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO,” Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said in a statement.

“Our joint memorandum underscores the commitment of Finland, Sweden and Türkiye to extend their full support against threats to each other’s security,” the Finnish leader added. “Us becoming NATO Allies will further strengthen this commitment.”