Sweden is just itching to become part of NATO. But not too much, though, because the Nordic country likely won’t accede all of the conditions Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan outlined in order to gain his approval.
“Turkey both confirms that we have done what we said we would do, but they also say that they want things that we cannot or do not want to give them,” said Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson during a security conference in Sweden on Sunday, as cited by Reuters. Kristersson’s confusing remarks were referring to a series of demands Turkey outlined back in May, when both Sweden and Finland made a bid to join NATO in wake of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
The two nordic countries signed a three-way agreement with Turkey last year intended to quell Ankara’s objections with their NATO membership. Turkey alleges Sweden and Finland are complicit in sheltering Kurdish rebels, which were part of an Islamic group that attempted to overthrow Turkey’s government in 2016. Erdogan’s demands also included the extradition of Turkish journalist Bülent Keneş, which was blocked by the Swedish Supreme Court last month on the grounds he could potentially face prosecution in Turkey over his political views.
“From time to time, Turkey mentions individuals that they want to see extradited from Sweden. To that I have said that those issues are handled within Swedish law,” said Kristersson. So far, Stockholm agreed to sever ties with Kurdish extremists, and lift an embargo on weapons exports to Turkey. In December, Ankara praised Stockholm for making efforts to combat terrorist activities, but insisted more needs to be done in order to win Erdogan’s full support for a NATO membership backing.
Sweden already has the approval from 28 of NATO’s 30 members— with the exception of Hungary. The EU country’s prime minister Viktor Orban, though, promised to ratify the Nordic countries’ bids in the coming weeks. Questioned whether Turkey would approve Stockholm’s bid before the June presidential elections, Kristersson conceded it was “impossible to know.”
Information for this briefing was found via Reuters. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.