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NATO chief tells Turkey ‘time has come’ to let Sweden join

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gestures as he addresses media representatives at a press conference at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on July 6, 2023, following a meeting between the foreign ministers of Turkey and Sweden. François WALSCHAERTS / AFP

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday said Turkey should approve Sweden’s stalled bid for membership “as soon as possible,” Agence France-Presse reported.

“Sweden has delivered on what they promised and now the time has come for Türkiye to finalize the accession process,” Stoltenberg said.

Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO members to not yet have ratified Sweden joining the alliance more than 18 months after it applied for membership.

The Turkish parliament started this month to debate Sweden’s bid to join after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched the process following a deal at a NATO summit in July.

NATO’s other 29 allies had hoped to be able to formally welcome Sweden into the alliance at a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels this week.

But the process is still at the committee level in the Turkish parliament.

“I would have liked to see more speed in the ratification process, that’s no secret,” Stoltenberg said.

“I would like them to finalize that, and that’s exactly what I have communicated many times.”

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