Swedish PM says ready to visit Turkey to unblock NATO bid
The Swedish PM says he aims to show the Turkish President that Sweden and Finland fulfill the promises they made to Turkey in order to join NATO.
Sweden's new Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson indicated on Thursday that he was ready to head to Ankara to urge Turkey to back bids by Sweden and Finland to join the NATO alliance.
"I have already sent a signal to the Turkish government that we are prepared to go to Ankara immediately," Kristersson said, as he arrived for an EU leaders' summit three days after taking office.
"I will do that as soon as it is suitable for them as well of course, so I'm very prepared for that," he added.
Kristersson pointed out that he aimed to show Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Sweden and Finland "actually do what we promised" to fulfill a deal with Ankara to clear their path into NATO.
Earlier this year, Sweden and Finland tore up their long-standing policies of non-alignment amid the war in Ukraine and launched their bids to join the US-led military alliance.
The move has received strong backing from the vast majority of the alliance's members, but Erdogan has stalled the process over accusations that the Nordic neighbors are havens for Kurdish militants hostile to Ankara.
Twenty-eight of NATO's 30 allies have so far ratified the accession of Finland and Sweden, leaving only Turkey and Hungary to sign off before they officially join the group.
Erdogan freezes Sweden, Finland NATO bid 'till promises are met'
On October 1, Erdogan affirmed that Turkey will continue to freeze Sweden and Finland's bids for NATO membership until the promises made by the two Nordic countries are "kept".
"Until the promises made to our country are kept, we will maintain our principled position," Erdogan said in a speech to parliament in Ankara.
What were the promises?
On June 28, the two Nordic countries signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding with Turkey in which they pledged to address Ankara’s concerns over their stance toward the PKK, YPG, and the Gulen movements.
In the memorandum, the two Nordic countries had agreed to lift their embargoes on weapons deliveries to Turkey, which were imposed in response to Ankara's 2019 military incursion into Syria.
Erdogan's office confirmed in late June that Finland and Sweden agreed to abandon "the embargo in the field of the military-industrial complex" of Turkey, adding that the two countries agreed to amend their national legislation "in the field of counter-terrorism and the defense industry."
One request vs. a long list of conditions— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) June 28, 2022
While #Turkey had a long list of conditions from #Finland and #Sweden, all the two Nordic states wanted was to join #NATO.
Here's your guide to understanding on what basis the agreement was made. pic.twitter.com/Aw7Jtu7frp
Finland and Sweden will also ban "fundraising and recruitment activities" for the Kurdish militants and "prevent terrorist propaganda against Turkey," Erdogan's office said.
The statement mentioned that the two Nordic countries also agreed to cooperate with Turkey on the deportation and extradition of "terrorism suspects".
Turkey announced on July 21 the establishment of a "permanent committee" to meet with Finnish and Swedish officials in August and review whether the two countries are meeting Ankara's conditions for ratifying their NATO membership aspirations.
Read more: Far-right will back Sweden's new right-wing government