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Turkey lifts veto on Finland, Sweden joining Nato, clearing path for expansion

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (centre) shakes hand with Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, during the Nato summit in Madrid, Spain.

PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (BLOOMBERG) – Finland and Sweden’s bids to join Nato overcame a key hurdle after Turkey agreed to move forward with membership talks.

Turkey will support inviting the two Nordic countries into the military alliance, with details to be hashed out at a summit that started in Madrid on Tuesday, Finland said in a statement.

Ankara is satisfied with pledges from Finland and Sweden on its security concerns, according to an official who declined to be named on a confidential issue.

Membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation for the two previously neutral countries would mark a significant shift in the European security landscape after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier met with Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

The membership process will still take many months, including ratification from Nato allies’ parliaments, before Finland and Sweden become members and can benefit from the alliance’s Article 5 collective defence commitments.

All 30 alliance members need to sign off.

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