By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that he and Turkish President Erdogan had agreed on a joint permanent mechanism that Turkiye proposed and created with Sweden and Finland at the Madrid Summit last year. Stoltenberg had commented: “The mechanism is vital in the fight against terrorism.” Last June, the three countries signed a tripartite memorandum with steps for the Nordic countries to take, in order for them to be accepted into NATO.
Earlier this year, Erdogan had expressed his satisfaction with steps that Finland took in line with the agreement which led to Finland’s NATO membership becoming official on April 4, 2023. Turkish officials have reiterated to Sweden that it needs to take further steps if it wants its NATO bid to become a reality. The U.S. and NATO have expressed their desire to see Sweden’s NATO bid ratified prior to the upcoming NATO Summit to take place in Vilnius, Lithuania on July 11-12.
The NATO chief said: “Membership will make Sweden, as well as NATO and Turkiye, stronger. I’m looking forward to the completion of Sweden’s membership process.” He added that it”was “high time to make that happen,” referring to ratifying Sweden’s NATO membership as soon as possible. Stoltenberg also said that Sweden has now become “much closer” to NATO since the last summit when Sweden was invited to NATO. Additional talks on Sweden’s NATO bid are scheduled to take place during the permanent joint mechanism. Stoltenberg indicated that he and Erdogan agreed the permanent joint mechanism meeting will take place on June 12.