Nato chief ‘confident’ Sweden will become full member of military alliance

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg insisted he is 'completely confident' that Sweden will join the military alliance. Turkey and Hungary are still blocking its membership.

Nato chief 'confident' Sweden will become full member of military alliance
Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB

“I am completely confident that Sweden will become a full member of Nato,” Stoltenberg said in Oslo during an informal meeting of Nato’s foreign ministers on Wednesday and Thursday, days after the re-election of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey and Hungary are the only countries of Nato’s 31 member states that have yet to ratify Sweden’s membership.

Finland formally became the Alliance’s 31st member on April 4th.

The two Nordic countries both dropped decades of military non-alignment and applied for membership together in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Erdogan, who was re-elected Sunday for another five-year-term, has accused Sweden of being a haven for “terrorists”, especially members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“We will be in close contact with Ankara and President Erdogan to help this process move forward as quickly as possible”, Stoltenberg told reporters after Tuesday’s discussion.

“They have already come an extremely long way since all the member countries, including Turkey, invited them to become full members at the summit last year”, he added, referring to a Madrid summit in June.

Since the summit, Erdogan has also accused Sweden of not honouring the terms of a separate deal under which Turkey had agreed to approve the bids.

“I have been of the opinion since last autumn that Sweden should already have been admitted by ratification, and I am still of that opinion, but when 31 countries have to agree, it probably takes a little longer than I would like, so we are working on it”, Stoltenberg said.

On Tuesday, Sweden once again drew Turkish ire, as Turkey deplored an “unacceptable” protest by Swedish activists aimed at Ankara.

The pro-Kurdish Rojava Committee of Sweden posted an anti-Erdogan video on social networks on Monday showing a PKK flag being projected onto the Swedish parliament – the latest of several similar stunts by the group which has repeatedly provoked Ankara.

Although Turkey’s foreign minister is not scheduled to be present in Oslo this week, the question of Sweden’s candidacy will probably be raised again at an upcoming summit in Vilnius on July 11th and 12th.

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France urges Turkey and Hungary to ratify Sweden’s Nato membership

France's foreign minister urged Turkey and Hungary to deliver on their pledges to come through on Sweden's stalled Nato application.

France urges Turkey and Hungary to ratify Sweden's Nato membership

Hungary and Turkey in July lifted their vetoes against Sweden’s entry into the Atlantic alliance, but have been slow to ratify its membership.

“We would like to see Sweden in Nato and we would like to see Turkey and Hungary delivering on what they agreed,” French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told reporters in Helsinki.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán this week said that ratifying Sweden’s Nato bid was not “urgent”, accusing the Nordic country of having challenged the country’s “democratic nature”.

For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated in July that ratification by the Turkish parliament would not take place before October.


For months, Erdogan has been putting pressure on Sweden to take action against the Quran desecrations that have strained relations between the two countries, as well as wanting Sweden to deliver more on combating Kurdish activists Turkey regards as terrorists.

Another issue complicating matters is the fact that the Turkish government wants to buy F16 jets from the US, but the American congress is holding off on approving the sale until Turkey has approved Sweden’s membership, which has led to deadlock.

Finland became Nato’s 31st member country in April, after three decades of military non-alignment and in the midst of the war in Ukraine.