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Nato chief says Turkey's president Erdogan will back Sweden joining alliance
10 July 2023, 21:16 | Updated: 10 July 2023, 22:07
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to support Sweden joining the Nato alliance, Jens Stoltenberg has said.
The announcement from the Nato chief means Turkey's leader will back Sweden's Nato bid after almost a year of stalling.
Speaking on Monday, the alliance leader said the Nato accession protocol to parliament would take place as soon as possible and "ensure ratification".
Turkey and Hungary have been halting Sweden's admission to Nato since last year and have remained the only two nations to do so.
The surprise announcement by Mr Erdogan had added new uncertainty to Sweden’s bid to become the alliance’s 32nd member, which Turkey initially blocked by saying Sweden was too soft on Kurdish militants and other groups that Ankara considers security threats.
Turkey's parliament will now be asked to approve the plan, the alliance chief has confirmed.
Jens Stoltenberg made the announcement ahead of tomorrow's Nato summit, in what the leader describes as a "historic step".
"President Erdogan has agreed to forward the accession protocol for Sweden to the Grand National Assembly [Turkey's parliament] as soon as possible and work closely with the assembly to ensure ratification," Mr Stoltenberg said.
"Sweden and Turkey have worked closer together to address Turkey's legitimate security concerns.
"As part of that process, Sweden has amended its constitution, changed its laws, significantly expanded its counter -errorism operation against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party), and resumed its arms exports to Turkey."
Earlier in the day, the alliance leader appeared to suggest Turkey would back Sweden's bid if the EU re-opened membership talks with Ankara.
The stand-off follows a disagreement over Sweden's alleged hosting Kurdish militants.
Mr Stoltenberg added that "Hungary has made it clear that they will not be the last to ratify".
Adding: "I think that problem will be solved."