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Why Sweden and Finland joined NATO
TITLE PLACEHOLDER | Carl Bildt | Europe In :60

Why Sweden and Finland joined NATO

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics from Hanoi, Vietnam.

Was the Swedish and Finnish decision to move into NATO, was that driven by fear of Russia attacking them?

Not really. I don't think either of our countries feel any immediate threat by Russian aggression. But what happened when Russia, Mr. Putin, to be precisely, attacked Ukraine was a fundamental upsetting of the entire European security order. And although Mr. Putin's priority at the moment, he’s very clear on that, is to get rid of Ukraine by invading and occupying all of it, you never know where he's going to stop. And this led Finland and Sweden to do the fundamental reassessment of their security policies. Giving up, in Swedish case, we've been outside of military alliances for the last 200 years or something like that.

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accepts Sweden's instruments of accession from Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson for its entry into NATO at the State Department in Washington, U.S., March 7, 2024.

REUTERS/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Sweden finally joins the NATO party

It’s official! Sweden has formally become NATO’s 32nd member. With the addition of Sweden and Finland, Vladimir Putin now finds himself surrounded by an enlarged and powerful NATO two years after he invaded Ukraine.

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US approves F-16s for Turkey, moving Sweden NATO membership closer
Turkey's ratification makes Sweden one step closer to NATO | Europe In :60

US approves F-16s for Turkey, moving Sweden NATO membership closer

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics from Stockholm.

How are things proceeding with the ratification of the Swedish membership in NATO?

Well, it’s been some back and forth. But now Turkey has ratified and that is important. That has to do with also the agreement with the US on deliveries of F-16s and modification kits of F-16s and deliveries of F-35s to Greece. A major package has been negotiated, so that should be okay. Now, remaining with Hungary. Prime Minister Orban is a slightly unpredictable fellow, but I would guess that he can't hold off for very long. So I would hope, expect this process to be wrapped up within a couple of weeks.

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Sweden's NATO membership is imminent after Turkey's approval
Sweden close to NATO membership after Turkey's blessing | Ian Bremmer | World In: 60

Sweden's NATO membership is imminent after Turkey's approval

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week from Davos on World In :60.

With the Turkish parliament officially approving Sweden's membership of NATO, will Hungary remain the lone holdout?

I don't expect it. I think that Sweden is joining. Erdogan still has to sign. So, I mean, isn't done done done until the signatures on. But NATO is being sold very, very effectively by Vladimir Putin, continues to expand.

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President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan is holding a press conference during NATO Summit


Turkey finally greenlights Sweden’s entry into NATO

Stockholm is finally within sight of joining NATO after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday submitted a bill to parliament approving Sweden’s membership. There is no set timeline for its passage, but a similar bill for Finland passed in 13 days.

The process had been held up over Ankara’s insistence that Sweden do more to clamp down on the Kurdistan Workers Party, whose armed wing has waged a decades-long insurgency in the eastern highlands. Stockholm promised to involve its intelligence agencies in asylum applications from Turkish Kurds, among other steps, but Ankara remained unsatisfied, dragging the process out.

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A bomb disposal expert works at the scene after a bomb attack in Ankara, Turkey.


NATO battles: US shoots down Turkish drone in Syria

The US military on Thursday shot down a Turkish drone in northeast Syria, a remarkable development pitting two NATO states with an already complicated alliance against one another.

The Pentagon said that it warned Ankara several times beforehand that its hardware was too close to US troops stationed there, and that it made the decision to strike when the Turkish drone came within 500 meters of US personnel.

How’d we get here? As part of its decade-long mission to abolish the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the US still has 900 troops operating in northern Syria. They work mainly with the Syrian Democratic Forces – a ragtag group of anti-regime militias including many Kurdish fighters.

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Protestors chant slogans during the demonstration against the Quran Burning In Sweden.


Nordics may ban Quran-burning protests

Quran burnings in Denmark and Sweden in recent weeks have angered Muslims around the world. These protests, usually by far-right extremists, tend to play out in front of embassies of Muslim-majority countries or other government buildings. In turn, Scandinavian leaders have been forced to explain that their hands are tied by their countries’ strict freedom of speech laws. But that may soon change.

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Supporters of the Popular Mobilization Forces protest in Tahrir Square in Baghdad to denounce the burning of the Quran and the Iraqi flag in Stockholm.

Ameer Al-Mohammedawi/dpa via Reuters Connect

Sweden, the Quran, and NATO

When Sweden announced in May that it wanted to join NATO, much of the world treated its membership as a done deal. Then, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reminded us that NATO’s requirement of unanimous consent gave him veto power.

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