Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had told NATO and Sweden leaders that Stockholm should take binding steps to address Ankara’s concerns and dispel its opposition to Sweden’s bid to join the alliance. Erdogan said on Saturday he had made no progress on the membership application.
Last month, Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, and its security implications for Europe.
The Turkish president asked, during a phone call with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersen, yesterday, Saturday, for concrete measures that address Ankara’s concerns, including support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Turkey classifies as a terrorist group, and also to reverse the embargo imposed by Sweden and Finland on arms supplies to Ankara.
The Turkish president’s office said that Erdogan stressed that his country wanted from Sweden “binding commitments on basic matters such as the fight against terrorism,” and the Turkish president reiterated during the call his country’s demand to extradite or deport certain people in Sweden.
For her part, the Swedish Prime Minister said her phone conversations with Erdogan were good, and wrote on her Twitter account, “We agree on the importance of making progress before next week’s NATO Summit in Madrid where I look forward to meeting President Erdogan and other leaders of the alliance.”
It is expected that NATO leaders will discuss, during their summit in Spain between 28-30 of this month, the membership applications of Finland and Sweden, among other files. Turkish officials said that Ankara does not consider the NATO summit as a deadline for resolving the dispute over the two membership requests.
Prior to the phone call between Erdogan and Andersen, the Turkish president discussed with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg by phone the membership file of Sweden and Finland, and the Turkish presidency said that Erdogan told Stoltenberg that “the two countries should take concrete and honest steps” against organizations that Ankara classifies as “terrorist”, in reference to To the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, and the Fethullah Gulen group.
Stoltenberg tweeted, via his Twitter account, that more talks are scheduled to take place on the applications for membership of Sweden and Finland next week in Brussels, where NATO is based, and in Madrid during the upcoming summit of the leaders of the alliance countries.