They were looking for a miracle and the miracle came. After weeks of blockades, blackmail, pressure and warnings, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has lifted this Tuesday in Madrid the veto that weighed on the candidacies of Sweden and Finland to enter NATO, after meeting for more than two hours in person with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and President Sauli Niinistö.

“Today in Madrid we have held a comprehensive meeting with President Erdogan facilitated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. As a result of that meeting, our Foreign Ministers have signed a trilateral memorandum confirming that Turkey at the Madrid Summit this week will support the invitation of Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO. The allies will define the concrete steps of our accession to NATO during the next two days, but that decision is now imminent”, celebrated in a statement the president Niinistö.

At 8:15 p.m., the ministers of the three countries, under the watchful eye of their leaders, signed the document by which the Nordic countries commit to address some of the issues of concern in Ankara. The aspiring candidates had already made many statements, but Erdogan did not accept “empty words”, so he takes a written document, endorsed before cameras around the world and under the umbrella of the Alliance itself. Stockholm and Helsinki cannot commit to handing over some of those claimed by Erdogan, whose related press has identified one by one, because that is the responsibility of the judiciary and not the Executive. But they can promise certain things, for example what has to do with eliminating the ban on the sale of weapons.

“Our joint memorandum underlines the commitment of Finland, Sweden and Turkey to provide their full support against each other’s security threats. Becoming allies will further strengthen this commitment. In recent weeks, Turkey has expressed concern about the threat of terrorism and Finland has always taken these concerns seriously. We condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. As a member of NATO, Finland will fully commit to NATO’s anti-terrorism documents and policies,” the President’s statement read. . However, or as an important reminder, the leader stresses that although there will be a reinforcement in “cooperation in the fight against terrorism, arms exports and extraditions, naturally, Finland continues to operate in accordance with its national legislation.” A way of saying that they will address the concerns, but without giving up the community legal framework.

Unanimity was a fundamental requirement to be able to start the accession negotiations of the two applicants, who since they officially asked to join the Alliance had been very exposed to Moscow. The process, now, should be very fast. Stoltenberg and his team have been pointing out for months that it will be done on the fast track, and this is not like the European Union, where it takes years or decades. Finland and Sweden are modern democracies, functional economies, have prepared armies and already coordinate with NATO at all levels. And without Turkish misgivings, everyone is more than happy to expand the club to 32 members.

Everyone would have liked to arrive in Madrid with their homework done, but until yesterday not even those affected had it with them. Andersson said in Brussels on Monday that he hoped to lift the veto today, but that it was not easy. And the messages from Helsinki just a few days ago pointed squarely at September at the earliest.

For Spain it is a triumph, although it has been limited to putting up the facilities. Today’s meeting between the three delegations was led by the Secretary General, who appeared at the end of the signing ceremony. They all had an invitation to the gala dinner organized by King Felipe VI, but overcoming the blockade, achieving unity and being able to send the union photo to Moscow was well worth the delay in the protocol. “We have not started and there is already a historic fact. Madrid will be remembered for a long time and not only for the Strategic Concept,” Spanish diplomatic sources immediately celebrated.

“We have had a fruitful meeting. I am happy to be able to announce that we have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO. The three have signed a memorandum that responds to Turkish concerns: arms exports and persecution of terrorism “No one has suffered as much from terrorism as Turkey. The three governments have agreed to enhance their cooperation on this matter. As allies, Finland and Sweden are committed to cooperating with Turkish security. This includes looking into extraditions and going after the PKK.”

“I want to thank all three for the constructive spirit of today’s talks,” Stoltenberg said. For the Norwegian politician, whose term expired in September, but was extended for another year precisely to deal with these types of issues and the consequences of the invasion of Ukraine, the news is a success, a relief and the best possible way to start one of the most important summits for collective security since the end of the Cold War.

In the memorandum, two pages with just 10 points, Sweden and Finland undertake “not to provide any support to the YPG/PYD and the organization known as FETO” and “confirm that the PKK, the Kurdish party, is a banned terrorist organization and undertake to prevent their activities and terrorist organizations and their extensions, as well as the activities of individuals in affiliated networks.”

The document includes the legislative changes in Finland, in force since January, and those that will become so in Sweden this week. Not something forced by Turkish pressure, but it has connotations, as it is more restrictive in terms of criminal activities and penalties.

The clearest part, however, has to do with weapons, which was clear from the start that it would be a game changer. By this agreement, the Nordic countries stipulate that there will be no type of arms or ammunition embargo between them, a notable change in the policy of both nations, which had Turkey on the blacklist. Sweden will change its laws to make it clear that there can be no restrictions on Alliance partners.

In addition to all this, the three parties agree to collaborate in matters of defense and intelligence, in the fight against terrorism and organized crime. But there are obviously no promises about extraditions, because it goes beyond the powers of a government, at least in a full democracy. “The two countries will address the pending deportations of terror suspects and will take into account the information, evidence and intelligence provided by Turkey and establish the necessary bilateral frameworks to facilitate extraditions,” the language said.

“Putin wanted less NATO and there is going to be more of the Atlantic Alliance on its borders,” summed up the Secretary General of an Alliance that tomorrow will establish, in its strategic concept, what is already obvious: Moscow is once again the main threat, the main rival , the main risk, and will be for the next decade.

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