"This is an historic day."
Those were the words of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday after talks with Turkey have finally led to an agreement to advance Sweden's NATO accession process.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged that Sweden's accession protocol be sent to the Turkish Parliament "as soon as possible," to have it approved quickly.
Stoltenberg said, "we have a clear commitment by Turkey to submit the ratification documents to the Grand National Assembly, and to work also with the assembly to ensure ratification."
Sweden's accession to the alliance of countries in Europe and North America had been held up since last year amid objections from Turkey.
Turkey's president hadpreviously expressed concerns over "terrorist groups" in Sweden, but those concerns appear to have been resolved.
NATO was founded in 1949 and is a group of 31 countries that work together to protect people and territories of its member nations.
Sweden would become the group's 32nd member state if approved.
President Biden released a statement on Monday saying, "I welcome the statement issued by Türkiye, Sweden and the NATO Secretary General this evening, including the commitment by President Erdogan to transmit the Accession Protocol for Sweden to Türkiye’s Grand National Assembly for swift ratification."
The president said, "I stand ready to work with President Erdogan and Türkiye on enhancing defense and deterrence in the Euro-Atlantic area. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Kristersson and Sweden as our 32nd NATO Ally. And I thank Secretary General Stoltenberg for his steadfast leadership."
Turkey has been waiting for European Union membership for decades.
Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, before flying to Vilnius, "Turkey has been waiting at the door of the European Union for over 50 years now, and almost all of the NATO member countries are now members of the European Union."
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