NATO leaders officially invited Sweden and Finland to become members of the military block on Wednesday after the Turkish president signaled that they would not block their bids.
“Today we have decided to invite Finland and Sweden to NATO member states and have agreed to sign the accession protocol,” NATO said in a post-meeting declaration in Madrid, Spain. “With the accession of Finland and Sweden, they will be safer, NATO will be stronger, and the Euro Atlantic region will be safer.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would not prevent the two countries from joining the alliance if he met his requirements. Earlier this year, Sweden and Finland announced their intention to join NATO after Russian troops invaded Ukraine.
All 30 NATO member countries must approve the participation of Finland and Sweden. Both countries are members of the European Union and may meet most, if not all, of NATO’s requirements to join the alliance.
Finland shares a long border with western Russia, and Sweden shares a maritime boundary with Russia. For years, two Scandinavian countries have resisted joining the block, even during the Soviet invasion. Norway, on the other hand, has been part of NATO since 1949 and is considered a co-founder of the alliance.
Ratification in the Confederate States can take up to a year, but once ratified, Finland and Sweden will be subject to NATO’s Article 5 Collective Defense Clause and will be under the umbrella of the U.S. Nuclear. ..
“It always takes time, but I [also] Stortemberg said on Wednesday that the allies were ready to ratify as soon as possible. “We will ensure that all allies, including Finland and Sweden, are protected,” Stoltemberg said.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Erdogan told reporters that he would speak with President Joe Biden on the phone before leaving for Madrid, Spain, and that Finnish and Swedish applications would be considered.
“PKK will be our agenda at my bilateral conference,” he told the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a Marxist group that is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and many other countries. Mentioned and said.
Meanwhile, the move is certain to make Russia even more annoying. Russian President Vladimir Putin has long stated that NATO is not only defensive in nature, but that the alliance has been trying to expand eastward since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told Russian media this week that Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO will force Moscow to deploy more weapons, including the nuclear system, along the border. Told.
“If NATO expands in this way, the length of the border with Russia will more than double,” said Medvejev, “owning our warships with iskanders, hypersonic missiles, and nuclear weapons. That’s not the best outlook for them. At their doorstep. “
Reuters contributed to this report.