Turkey Agrees to Support Sweden’s NATO Bid

ISTANBUL — Turkey agreed on Monday to clear the way for Sweden to join NATO, a sudden reversal just hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the European Union should first advance Turkey’s bid to join the E.U. bloc.

NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, announced Turkey’s decision from Vilnius, Lithuania, where the alliance was preparing to open its annual summit on Tuesday.

A statement released by the alliance said Mr. Erdogan met on Monday with Mr. Stoltenberg and Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson of Sweden to discuss the country’s bid, which had been held up by Turkey’s demands that Sweden crack down on dissidents whom Turkey considers terrorists, including pro-Kurdish activists and members of a religious group that Turkey has accused of planning a coup attempt in 2016.

The two countries agreed that “counterterrorism cooperation is a long-term effort, which will continue beyond Sweden’s accession to NATO,” the NATO statement said.

Hungary is the only other NATO member that has yet to approve Sweden’s bid, but Hungarian officials have said that if Turkey’s position changes, they would not obstruct the process.

Finland applied at the same time as Sweden, but overcame Turkey’s initial objections and joined the alliance in April.