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Erdogan names condition for Sweden's accession to NATO

Jul 4, 2023

Turkey will not cancel its opposition to Sweden's accession to NATO unless Stockholm stops harboring groups that Ankara considers terrorists.


This was stated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, RBC-Ukraine reports citing Reuters.

"Everyone must recognize that they cannot build friendly relations with Turkey by allowing terrorists to demonstrate in the central squares of their cities," he said.

In recent months, demonstrators in Stockholm have been waving flags in support of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is also considered a terrorist group by Turkey's Western allies.

"Our position, expectations, and promises that were made were very clear. We are now defending the same principles as last year. We just want them to stay true to what they signed," Erdogan said.

Sweden's accession to NATO

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership last year, abandoning their long-held policy of military neutrality after Russia invaded Ukraine. Membership applications must be approved by all NATO members, but Turkey and Hungary have not yet approved Sweden's application.

Turkey has repeatedly stated that Sweden should take additional steps against supporters of the banned PKK and members of the network, which Ankara considers responsible for the 2016 coup attempt. Turkey considers both groups to be terrorist organizations.

Turkey expects Sweden to stop harboring members of both groups, Erdogan said in a speech after the cabinet meeting.

Sweden says it has fulfilled its part of the deal it made with Turkey in Madrid last year to address Ankara's security concerns, including the adoption of a new anti-terrorism law this month. However, Turkey claims that the change in Swedish legislation was "meaningless," while PKK supporters have been holding protests in the country.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said last month that Sweden and Turkey would hold a high-level meeting in Brussels on Sweden's possible accession to NATO before the alliance's summit in Vilnius this month.

Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 04/07/2023

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