NATO’s thirty member countries on Tuesday began the ratification process for the accession of Sweden and Finland, a historic decision for the two Nordic countries dictated by the Russian-led war in Ukraine.
“The signing of the accession protocols initiates the ratification process in each member country,” announced NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before the ambassadors of the countries in the alliance initialed these protocols during a ceremony at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
“At 32 we will be even stronger (…) at a time when we are facing the worst security crisis in decades,” he said.
“After weeks of intense talks over Turkey’s security concerns, common ground was found and the Madrid summit invited both candidates to join NATO,” he recalled.
However, Turkey has made its ratification conditional on honoring the commitments made by the two Nordic countries at this counter-terrorism summit.
“If they do their duty, we will submit (the memorandum) to” Turkey’s parliament for approval, but “if they don’t, it is out of the question for us to submit it to the parliament…” President Recep warned Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey is waiting for Sweden to extradite ’73 terrorists’ The commitment is contained in a memorandum signed in Madrid between the leaders of the three countries ahead of the opening of the summit last week.
Ankara has for several years in Stockholm been demanding the extradition of Kurdish activists and people associated with the movement founded by preacher Fethullah Gülen and accused by Turkish authorities of fomenting the July 2016 coup attempt.
Turkey had no objection to the conclusion of accession talks and protocols on Monday at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels with Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde and her Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto.
“We hope for a speedy ratification,” said the head of Finnish diplomacy on Tuesday before signing the accession protocols.
“The signing of the accession protocols gives us the status of host country,” recalled the Swedish minister.
But the two candidates will not benefit from the protection of Article 5 of the NATO Charter in the event of an attack until the 30 member countries have ratified their membership.