Sweden and Finland will be officially joining NATO after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday lifted his objections following tense talks behind the scenes.
Greece expressed its satisfaction and the positive outcome for NATO, something that will come as a bombshell for Russia's President Putin who strongly advised against their membership.
According to Greek Government sources Mr. Erdogan's negotiations on the accession of Sweden and Finland didn't last long. The agreement reached does not affect the Greek side or the European Union's relations with Turkey.
In addition, the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO strengthens the European area of the Alliance and strengthens the position of Greece.
The Turkish President had previously refused to vote for the Nordic countries accession to NATO accusing them of harboring and supporting terrorists.
But late on Tuesday, Erdogan’s office said it had agreed to back their drives to join, saying Ankara had “got what it wanted”.
The move comes after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg mediated talks in Madrid between Erdogan and the leaders of Sweden and Finland.
“I’m pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO,” he said.
The agreement “addresses Turkey’s concerns, including around arms exports, and the fight against terrorism,” he added.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on Tuesday hailed a “very good agreement” with Turkey but insisted Sweden had not made too many concessions to Erdogan.
“Taking the next step toward a full NATO membership is of course important for Sweden and Finland. But it’s also a very important step for NATO, because our countries will be security providers within NATO,” Andersson told AFP in an interview.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also welcomed the agreement. “Sweden and Finland’s membership will make our brilliant alliance stronger and safer,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
Sweden and Finland went into the NATO meeting open to the possibility that Turkey might only lift its objections after the summit concludes on Thursday.[AFP]