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Türkiye maintains opposition. Stoltenberg: Sweden’s NATO membership is within reach

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Sweden’s membership in the Alliance is at hand, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday after a meeting with representatives of Sweden, Finland and Turkey. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said Sweden must implement its anti-terror laws to gain Ankara’s consent to join NATO.

Stoltenberg reported that the leaders Sweden and Turkey will meet on Monday in Vilnius on the eve of the NATO summit and “try to overcome remaining obstacles to Sweden’s membership of the Alliance.” Sweden’s membership of the Alliance is within reach, he added.

“My main ambition is to agree on this at the summit,” said the NATO secretary general, adding that the further postponement of accepting Sweden only pleases the Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – an organization that is recognized as a terrorist group, e.g. By USA and the EU.

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership last year, abandoning its previous military policy of neutrality. While the accession process in the case of Helsinki was successful and Finland became the 31st member of the Alliance on April 4, 2023, Stockholm is still waiting for the green light from Turkey and Hungary.

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PAP/Maciej Zielinski

Turkish opposition

On June 25, in a telephone conversation with Jens Stoltenberg, the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan he said that the Swedish authorities must stop demonstrations by supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Stockholm in order to obtain approval for NATO membership.

In Sweden, anti-terrorist regulations were tightened in June, introducing the possibility of punishing also for supporting terrorist organizations, including the PKK. The Swedish government has also approved the extradition of a PKK supporter to Turkey for the first time.

The head of NATO met with representatives of Sweden, Finland and TurkeyReuters

However, the Turkish authorities are outraged by the Kurdish demonstrations organized in Sweden. Protests due to the freedom of expression enshrined in the Swedish constitution cannot be banned, nor is it a criminal offense to use the symbols of a terrorist organization. As a result, Turkey continues to oppose Sweden’s entry into the North Atlantic Alliance, and President Erdogan reiterates that Stockholm should not have high expectations regarding the July NATO summit in Vilnius.

Read also: Biden: The US is looking forward to Sweden in NATO

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said on Thursday that Sweden must implement its anti-terror laws to gain Ankara’s approval to join NATO.

“We hope and look forward to a positive decision next week,” Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom told reporters in Brussels. “The process is ongoing and of course we are working very hard to become members of NATO,” he added.

Main photo source: Reuters

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