Turkey, Sweden to join NATO after lifting veto

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Turkey, Sweden to join NATO after lifting veto

On Tuesday, Turkey agreed to Finland and Finland's membership of the defense alliance in Madrid, as well as Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Sauli Niinisto of Finland.

MADRID - NATO leaders will invite Finland and Sweden to join the alliance on Wednesday after Turkey lifted its veto on their membership, the secretary-general said Tuesday evening, clearing the way for one of the most significant expansions of the alliance in decades. Following Turkey s agreement to a Memorandum with the two Nordic countries, the historic deal underscored how the war in Ukraine has backfired for President Vladimir V. Putin, subverting Russian efforts to weaken NATO and pushing Sweden and Finland, which were neutral and non-aligned for decades into the alliance's arms. After weeks of talks capped by an hours long meeting in Madrid, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey agreed to lift his blockade of Sweden and Finland's membership in return for a set of actions and promises that they will act against terrorism and terrorist organizations.

The final push to resolve the dispute started early Tuesday morning, when President Biden called Mr. Erdogan to urge him to seize the moment on the eve of the summit to allow discussions on other topics to proceed, according to a senior administration official with knowledge of the discussion. The president said he was speaking with Mr. Erdogan to the leaders of Finland and Sweden, despite the fact that he requested anonymity to discuss private deliberations. The two Nordic leaders consulted with Mr. Biden before announcing the agreement with Turkey after several hours of negotiations later that night. The American official said that the deal between Turkey and the two nordic countries involved a series of compromises on both sides, including the statement by Turkey welcoming Finland and Sweden to apply and issues involving an arms embargo imposed on Turkey and Turkey's belief that Finland and Sweden had offered safe havens to groups they considered terrorists. American officials had for days played down Mr. Biden's role in the negotiations, saying he would not be a broker between the other countries and insisted that it was up to Turkey, Finland and Sweden to resolve their differences. After the agreement was announced Tuesday night, the senior administration official conceded that it was considered more diplomatic to publicly minimize Mr. Biden's involvement. The United States has voted to lift its veto, which could have complicated the discussions, and Turkey prevented from seeking concessions from the United States for agreeing to lift its veto, the official said. The next steps for Finland and Sweden are clear: NATO will vote on Wednesday to accept their applications. There is a quick study of their defense capacities and needs. The talks are expected to be routine since both countries are NATO partners and have exercised together with NATO allies.