Biden thanks Erdogan for 'courage, leadership, and diplomacy' after Sweden agreement

Biden thanks Erdogan for 'courage, leadership, and diplomacy' after Sweden agreement

'President Erdoğan, thank you for your courage, leadership, and diplomacy,' says Biden

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - US President Joe Biden hailed his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Wednesday after Ankara struck a deal to greenlight Sweden's NATO membership bid.

Biden said the agreement for Sweden's ascension, reached as NATO leaders convened in Lithuania's capital, is "historic."

"President Erdoğan, thank you for your courage, leadership, and diplomacy," Biden said in a tweet accompanying a video with footage from his bilateral meeting with the Turkish president on the sidelines of the summit in Vilnius.

"This summit reaffirms our commitment to the NATO defense, and I hope we can continue to make it even stronger," he added.

Erdogan agreed to send Sweden's NATO accession protocol to parliament following a trilateral meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Vilnius, Lithuania on Monday.

"Türkiye has always supported NATO's open-door policy. We have never prevented any country's accession to the alliance for arbitrary reasons," Erdogan said Wednesday as the two-day summit concluded.

Sweden and Finland decided to seek NATO membership after Russia launched its war on Ukraine in February 2022. While Finland gained membership this April, Türkiye said Sweden would need to address its security concerns – particularly over terrorism – before getting its green light.

New members of NATO must get unanimous agreement from all the current members. Türkiye has been a NATO member for over 70 years, and boasts its second-largest army after the US.

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