STOCKHOLM—As talks with Turkey are set to resume this week, NATO Security General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that he saw some “progress” in the stalled bids of Sweden and Finland to join.
The membership applications of the Nordic countries must be approved by all 30 of NATO’s current members. At present, only Turkey and Hungary have not ratified the applications.
After protests in January, including the burning of the Qur’an outside its embassy in Stockholm, Ankara suspended negotiations with Sweden and Finland out of anger.


This Thursday, as promised by Turkey last month, new talks will take place in Brussels, at the NATO headquarters.
Stoltenberg visited Sweden and stressed the importance of finalizing the memberships.
“We are making progress,” he said at a joint press conference with the Swedish prime minister.
Stockholm “has delivered” on an agreement with Turkey signed last year, Stoltenberg said, clearing the way for Turkey’s eventual membership in NATO.
Now is the time to complete the ratification procedure, he said.
Foreign ministry officials have attended two rounds of trilateral NATO talks, where they have focused on a specific list of Turkish demands, such as the expulsion of dozens of mostly Kurdish suspects.
Stoltenberg would not be drawn on the outcome of the renewed talks happening this week.
Turkey has brought up the possibility of accepting Finland while rejecting Sweden’s application.
Even though NATO officials are skeptical of splitting up the bids, they are beginning to accept the possibility that Helsinki may join first.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the current president of Turkey, has taken a hard stance toward Sweden in the run-up to a contentious election in which he will be trying to rally support from his country’s nationalists.
Stoltenberg added that the applications should be ratified by the Hungarian parliament “shortly.”
A Hungarian parliamentary delegation currently in Sweden reportedly demanded that Swedish politicians stop spreading “lies” about Budapest and the rule of law.
Deputy Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament Csaba Hende told reporters in Stockholm that a vote in favor of both countries joining the alliance was still anticipated “in the coming weeks” in Budapest.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, both Finland and Sweden reversed decades-long policies of military neutrality and submitted membership applications to NATO in May of that year.