Sweden's NATO membership in danger: "Turkey is making demands that we are not meeting"
Created: 01/09/2023, 16:05
By: Erkan Pehlivan
Sweden sees itself unable to meet Erdogan's demands for the country to join NATO.
Nato boss Jens Stoltenberg remains optimistic.
STOCKHOLM - A new conflict is looming within NATO.
Sweden has announced that it will not be able to meet the conditions set by the Turkish government around Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the kingdom to join NATO,
"Turkey has confirmed that we have done what we promised them," Ulf Kristersson said at a security and defense conference in Sälen, western Sweden, on Sunday.
“But they also say that they have demands that we cannot and do not want to meet.
And now the decision is up to Turkey.” He remains convinced that Turkey will agree to Sweden joining NATO.
"We just don't know when."
Finland wants to join NATO with Sweden
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," said Haavisto.
“Sweden is our best friend and partner.
Nor would it be in Finland's interest to join without Sweden.” Sweden and Finland would form a joint military-strategic entity, Haavisto said.
Turkey accuses Sweden of supporting "terrorist organizations".
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 more commitment from Sweden in the "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".
Ulf Kristersson, Prime Minister of Sweden © Emmi Korhonen
NATO boss Jens Stoltenberg is optimistic
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, on the other hand, said at the conference in Sweden on Sunday: "I am sure that Turkey will ratify the membership of Sweden and Finland and I think that should happen as soon as possible.
But I don't want to speculate about when exactly Turkey will do that.” Stoltenberg emphasized that the two Nordic countries are already taking part in almost all NATO meetings and are safer than they were before they applied.
In addition to Turkey's approval of NATO's northern expansion, Hungary's is still pending.
Exile journalist thanks the Swedish judiciary
Among other things, Turkey is demanding the extradition of several people of Turkish origin who live in exile in Sweden, including several journalists.
Sweden's highest court recently refused to extradite exiled journalist Bülent Kenes to Turkey.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously called for this in a press conference.
"The extradition of this terrorist to Turkey is very important for us," Erdogan said at a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Ankara in early November.
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Kenes unequivocally thanked him for the decision of the Swedish judges on Twitter: "I am very pleased that Sweden is upholding its constitutional and democratic principles against blackmail by an Islamofascist dictator.
Thank you, Sweden,” the exiled journalist and scientist said at the time.