Finland and Sweden received the all-clear from Turkey on Tuesday in Madrid as the latter agreed to lift its opposition towards both nations joining NATO.
We now have an agreement that paves the way for #Finland & #Sweden to join #NATO. I thank Presidents @RTErdogan & @Niinisto & @SwedishPM for the constructive spirit that made this historic decision possible. pic.twitter.com/dCEeoNjkOl— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) June 28, 2022
The aftermath of both nations joining NATO means the number of NATO countries bordering the Baltic Sea now rises to eight. According to the former intelligence chief of the General Staff of the Finnish Defense Forces Pekka Haveri the ‘Baltic Sea will become a lake of NATO’.
— Oana Lungescu (@NATOpress) June 28, 2022
“Russia will be 90% surrounded by NATO countries. Russia’s ability to run military operations there will be practically zero,” Haveri was quoted as saying by Georgia Today in an interview.
“From Russia’s point of view, it’s a big hit because now the Baltic Sea will become a lake of NATO,” Haveri said.
Other than Sweden and Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland are the other members in the Baltic Sea region.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the decision taken by Turkey was historic. “We now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO,” Stoltenberg was quoted as saying by news agency Associated Press.
Turkish president Reccep Tayyip Erdogan in the initial stages did not want both nations to join NATO as he alleged Stockholm and Helsinki provided support to Kurdish militants.
Turkey said it got ‘what it wanted’ including ‘full cooperation in the fight against rebel groups’.
Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö said an agreement was signed to break the logjam between Finland, Sweden and Turkey.
The three foreign ministers, Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu, Finland’s Pekka Haavisto, and Sweden’s Ann Linde, signed a joint security pact addressing Turkey’s concerns.
The formal invitation will be extended to both nations on Wednesday.
However, the invitation will be extended only after all members of NATO ratify the decision. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he is confident that the Nordic pair would be part of the security bloc.
Sweden, after talks with Turkey, agreed to fast-track the work on Turkish extradition requests of suspected militants, news agency BBC reported.
Restriction on selling weapons to Turkey will also be lifted. Turkey accused Sweden of protecting members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is outlawed by authorities in Ankara.
The move will also see Sweden end its 200 years of Swedish non-alignment. Finland also adapted neutrality after the then-Soviet Union handed it a crushing defeat during the second World War.
(with inputs from Georgia Today and the Associated Press)