Turkey to discuss Sweden's accession to NATO in Brussel
Turkey says it is going to discuss Sweden's bid to join NATO in the Belgian capital of Brussels during a quadripartite meeting.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that Turkey, Sweden, Finland, and NATO will be holding a meeting in Brussels to discuss Sweden's ascension to NATO.
"We agreed to convene a new meeting of Finland, Sweden, Turkey, and NATO. This meeting will take place in Brussels next week. I will chair the meeting and it will be a high-level meeting with the foreign ministers, the chiefs of intelligence, and national security advisers. And the purpose of that meeting is, of course, to make progress so we can have a positive decision at the Vilnius summit on Swedish membership," Stoltenberg said.
Stoltenberg said Monday that the alliance would hold discussions with Sweden about its accession before its summit next month, with the approval of Turkey, which has been holding up the membership bid.
Stoltenberg stated that he had come to an agreement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to "convene a high-level meeting in Brussels before the summit."
The Turkish presidential office stated Sunday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Stoltenberg addressed recent developments in Russia involving the Wagner Group private military company (PMC), as well as the possibility of Sweden's NATO membership.
While speaking to the media in Vilnius, Lithuania, Stoltenberg explained that the upcoming meeting "will include foreign ministers, heads of intelligence, and national security advisors. The aim is to make progress in completing Sweden's accession to NATO."
Lithuania is scheduled to hold the NATO summit next month on July 11-12.
Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO last year, citing changes in the European security picture because of the Ukraine crisis. As Finland went on to become a member, Turkey, and Hungary stymied Sweden's bid, with Budapest citing grievances over Stockholm's criticism of Hungary's Prime Minister and Ankara accusing Sweden of harboring what it considers Kurdish terrorists and, most recently, meddling in Turkish elections.
Hungary went on to approve Sweden's membership, with Turkey remaining the sole NATO member to refuse it.
Moreover, Erdogan stated that mere changes in Swedish law regarding terrorism are insufficient for Ankara to approve its NATO bid.