"Did what was discussed": Sweden: Turkey's turn to join NATO

Is there a rapprochement between Northern Europe and Turkey because of the NATO membership bids? Sweden's Prime Minister Kristersson sees blockades on the part of Ankara, but since "we have done what we promised them", the decision now rests with Turkey.

"Did what was discussed": Sweden: Turkey's turn to join NATO

Is there a rapprochement between Northern Europe and Turkey because of the NATO membership bids? Sweden's Prime Minister Kristersson sees blockades on the part of Ankara, but since "we have done what we promised them", the decision now rests with Turkey.

According to Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Sweden's NATO membership is still opposed by Turkey's demands on his country. "Turkey has confirmed that we have done what we promised them," Kristersson said at a security and defense conference in Sälen, western Sweden. "But they also say that they have demands that we cannot and do not want to meet. And now the decision lies with Turkey."

He remains convinced that Turkey will agree to Sweden's accession. "We just don't know when." NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was very confident when asked about the timing. He expects Sweden and Finland to join the defense alliance this year. However, he does not want to set an exact date, since the "sovereign decision" of the Turkish and Hungarian parliaments to admit Sweden and Finland to NATO is still pending.

As a member of the defense alliance, Sweden is willing, among other things, to take part in NATO's joint missile defense system and in air patrols over the Baltic States, the Black Sea and Iceland, Kristersson said in his speech. Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in May 2022 as part of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said at the security conference in Sälen that they would wait for Sweden. "We submitted the NATO application together, and we will complete the process together," Haavisto said. "Sweden is our best friend and partner. Nor would it be in Finland's interest to join without Sweden." Sweden and Finland together formed a strategic military unit.

NATO member Turkey is blocking the accession of the Nordic countries, citing Sweden's alleged support of "terrorist organizations" such as the banned Kurdish Workers' Party PKK. The country had made a number of demands as a condition for the ratification of the so-called accession protocols. Among other things, Turkey is demanding a stronger fight against "terrorism" and the extradition of dozens of people.

Shortly before Christmas, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the implementation of the agreements was "not halfway there." In addition to Turkey's approval of NATO's northern expansion, Hungary's is still pending.

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