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Turkey backs Sweden`s Nato membership
  Date : 21-04-2024

Turkey`s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to support Sweden`s bid to join Nato, the military alliance`s chief Jens Stoltenberg says, reports BBC on Tuesday.

He said the Turkish leader would forward Sweden`s bid to parliament in Ankara and "ensure ratification".

Meanwhile, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said: "I am very happy, it is a good day for Sweden."

Turkey had previously spent months blocking Sweden`s application, accusing it of hosting Kurdish militants.

As one of Nato`s 31 members, Turkey has a veto over any new country joining the group.

Reacting to the news, US President Joe Biden said he welcomed the commitment by President Erdogan to proceed with "swift ratification".

"I stand ready to work with President Erdogan and Turkey on enhancing defence and deterrence in the Euro-Atlantic area. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Kristersson and Sweden as our 32nd Nato ally," a White House statement said.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock tweeted: "At 32, we`re all safer together." British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Sweden joining would "make us all safer".

Mr Stoltenberg announced the agreement late on Monday following talks between the Turkish and Swedish leaders in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

The Nato chief described it as a "historic step", but stressed that a "clear date" could not be given for when Sweden would join the military alliance - as this relied on the Turkish parliament.

Sweden and its eastern neighbour Finland, both long considered as militarily neutral, announced their intention to join Nato in May last year, several months after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Finland formally joined in April.

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