Prospective NATO member Sweden announced on Friday that it will allow arms exports to Turkey, which had threatened to block the Scandinavian nation’s application to join the 30-member defense alliance.
The decision means that Sweden, which has applied for NATO membership together with neighboring Finland, will lift an arms embargo it imposed on Ankara in 2019 following Turkey’s military operation against the Kurdish militia known as the YPG in Syria.
NATO INVITES SWEDEN, FINLAND TO JOIN MEMBERS AFTER RUSSIA’S UKRAINE WAR
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had threatened to block the Nordic pair’s membership, insisting they change their stance on Kurdish rebel groups Turkey considers terrorists and lift the arms embargo against Turkey. NATO operates by consensus so Turkey must approve.
“Sweden’s application for membership in NATO greatly strengthens the defense and security policy reasons for granting the export of military equipment to other member states, including Turkey,” the Strategic Products Inspectorate, a Swedish administrative agency, said in a statement.
Once neutral Finland and Sweden are abandoning what in Sweden’s case has been 200 years of military non-alignment, driven to join NATO’s mutual defense pact in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its continued war there.
NATO GIVES THE RIGHT CALL TO SWEDEN, FINLAND IN A BIG, BOLD COURT
Turkey’s parliament has yet to ratify Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership, and Friday’s move was widely seen as aimed at securing Ankara’s approval. A delegation from Sweden is expected in Ankara next week to discuss Turkish requests for the release of figures requested by Turkey.