NATO secretary general says Turkey's president and the Swedish prime minister have agreed to terms to advance Stockholm's application to join the military alliance.
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has set aside his veto against Sweden’s application to join the NATO.
After months of delays and difficult talks, he said he will recommend to his parliament that Stockholm's bid to join the military alliance goes ahead.
Speaking ahead of the NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, the alliance’s chief, Jens Stoltenberg, said Erdogan has agreed to work closely with the Grand National Assembly (Turkey's parliament) to ensure ratification.
Describing the move as an "historic step", Stoltenberg said the move will make NATO allies stronger and safer.
"This is good for Sweden, Sweden will become a full member of the alliance. It's good for Turkey because Turkey is NATO ally that will benefit from a stronger NATO. And then, of course, it's good for the whole alliance."
Both Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership last year, abandoning their decades-long policies of military non-alignment, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Erdogan had stalled Sweden’s NATO accession, saying Stockholm was failing to crack down on Kurdish militants, which Ankara considers "terrorists", and a threat to its national security.
Ahead of the NATO summit, the Turkish president had said his country would support Sweden's bid to join NATO if the European Union opened membership talks for Turkey.
Brussels quickly reiterated that joining NATO and joining the EU are two very different procedures. But EU Council president, Charles Michel, later tweeted that the Union's relations with Turkey have been “re-energised".
Turkey's EU membership bid has been put on hold for what Brussels sees as democratic backsliding by Ankara over judicial reforms.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff on Thursday said Budapest would no longer block Sweden's NATO membership ratification.
As applications to join NATO must be approved by all members, Turkey's approval would remove the last hurdle for Swedish accession to the military alliance.