Growing unease has become evident among NATO countries as Turkey and Hungary wait for Sweden’s application for membership to be ratified. Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg This issue was specifically raised at the Defense Minister’s meeting on Thursday in Brussels.
– I raised this topic today, because there is impatience. Many Member States have run out of patience, and I personally am not. I indicated that we had agreed in Vilnius, in writing, says Stoltenberg at a Nordic press conference afterwards.
At the NATO summit in Vilnius last summer, the Turkish president promised this Recep Tayyip Erdogan Ratification should be submitted to Parliament “as soon as possible”.
Stoltenberg believes the time has come.
We were waiting for the Turkish Parliament to meet. It is now being collected. Then I expect Türkiye to follow through on what we agreed in Vilnius, as the Secretary-General says.
Countries are pressing
In his large press conference after the meeting, he specifically referred to new promises from the Turkish Defense Minister Yasser Guler.
– I am pleased that the Turkish Minister of Defense confirmed Turkey’s adherence to the agreement (to ratify it as soon as possible). Therefore, I now expect the Turkish government to take this matter to parliament, says Stoltenberg.
The growing discomfort can be seen, among other things, in information from Swedish journalist S. R. Eckott that several NATO countries are considering increasing economic pressure on the two countries to get them to agree.
Political pressure is said to have little effect. The Turkish economy is also in a deplorable state, as the country is one of the countries most affected by inflation and high prices.
“Cash is king,” says one source.
According to Ekut, tougher terms from Turkey’s lenders could be the way, or “prices” being adjusted upwards while simultaneously explaining to Erdogan that purchasing US F-16 fighter jets could be much more expensive – or perhaps not at all. . .
Swedish Minister of Defence Pal Johnson (M) claims his inability to comment on the information.
– But I can of course now notice within NATO a great desire for Sweden to become a member as soon as possible. The agreement we reached in Vilnius was very well received by the other Allies. I think there is now a will to move forward, says Johnson in Brussels.
He met Guler
He himself held a “good meeting” with his Turkish colleague Yasar Guler on Wednesday.
He also wants to see Sweden become a member of NATO as soon as possible, but he did not give a timetable for that. I suppose there may be other actors who have opinions about this as well, as Johnson points out.
Guler himself did not appear to the foreign press in Brussels when he arrived at NATO headquarters. But he’s in a good mood when he arrives and greets his staff – and also happens to be smiling happily at the Swedish media at the entrance.
– We are waiting for Ankara, this is Guler’s message about Sweden’s belief, before he rushes off.
Sweden applied for NATO membership in May 2022 and was officially invited just over a month later. To date, 29 out of 31 countries have ratified the treaty.
In this order it was approved:
July 2022: Denmark, Canada, Iceland, Norway, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, Estonia, Latvia
August 2022: Poland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Albania, Belgium, France, Italy, USA, Romania, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia.
September 2022: Montenegro and the Czech Republic
October 2022: Slovakia, Spain, Portugal and Greece
April 2023: Finland
Hungary and Turkey remain.
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