Turkish President Erdoğan agrees to back Sweden's NATO bid, Stoltenberg says
Why it matters: Erdoğan's veto was the primary factor preventing Sweden from becoming NATO's 32nd member.
- The Turkish leader claimed Sweden had harbored militants who Turkey views as terrorists, and he insisted Stockholm lift a ban on arms exports to Ankara.
- Sweden had amended its laws and lifted the ban in order to comply with those requests, but Erdoğan seemed to move the goalposts again in recent days by linking Sweden's NATO accession to Turkey's path to EU membership.
The big picture: Pessimism had been setting in about the likelihood of any breakthrough before the NATO summit starting Tuesday in Lithuania, but according to Stoltenberg's statement, Turkey will now "transmit the Accession Protocol for Sweden to the Grand National Assembly, and work closely with the Assembly to ensure ratification."
- President Biden in a statement welcomed Stoltenberg's announcement. "I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Kristersson and Sweden as our 32nd NATO Ally," the U.S. president said.
What to watch: Hungary's parliament must also ratify Sweden's accession before it becomes official.
- The legislative hurdles are unlikely to be cleared before the summit, but the agreement struck between Erdoğan and Stoltenberg sends a clear signal that Sweden's flag will likely be flying at NATO headquarters soon.