Turkey’s Erdogan defies strain over Sweden’s NATO software | NATO Information

Turkish president says the Nordic nation has not totally addressed his safety considerations.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rebuffed rising worldwide strain on Turkey to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership bid earlier than the navy alliance meets in July.

Western officers had hoped Erdogan would soften his place on the diplomatically charged subject after he secured a hard-fought re-election final month.

However Erdogan signalled no main shift in feedback on Wednesday launched by his workplace whereas Turkish and Swedish officers had been locked in last-minute negotiations in Ankara.

“Sweden has expectations. It doesn’t imply that we’ll adjust to them,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.

Sweden and Finland utilized for membership collectively after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine final yr, marking a dramatic pivot after many years of navy neutrality. Finland turned NATO’s thirty first member in April after the Turkish parliament ratified its request, however Turkey has held off on approving Sweden’s bid.

NATO desires to deliver Sweden into the fold by the point the leaders of its member nations meet for a summit in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, on July 11-12.

The officers in Ankara mentioned what Finland and Sweden have performed to handle Turkey’s considerations over what it calls “terrorist” teams and their supporters residing within the Nordic nations. Erdogan stated earlier that the Turkish delegation on the assembly gave the message: “Don’t anticipate something totally different at Vilnius.”

Sweden’s chief negotiator stated on Wednesday that Turkey and Sweden will proceed their discussions however added there was no particular date.

“It’s my job to influence our counterpart that we’ve got performed sufficient. I believe we’ve got,” Oscar Stenstrom stated. “However Turkey isn’t able to decide but and thinks that they should have extra solutions to the questions they’ve.”

Sweden NATO
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson at a press convention in Lulea, Sweden, in Could [File: Jonas Ekstroemer/TT News Agency via Reuters]

Extra ‘concrete steps’

Turkey’s authorities accuses Sweden of being too lenient in direction of teams that Ankara says pose a safety risk, together with Kurdish armed organisations and other people accused of associations with a failed coup try in opposition to Erdogan’s authorities in 2016.

A collection of demonstrations in Stockholm, together with a protest by an anti-Islam activist who burned the Quran outdoors the Turkish embassy, additionally angered Turkish officers.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has stated his authorities has performed what it promised in an settlement reached with Turkey final yr, which was supposed to safe Ankara’s ratification of its NATO membership.

Final week, Swedish International Minister Tobias Billström was informed by his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, that Ankara wanted to see extra “concrete steps” from Sweden.

Erdogan additionally talked about pro-Kurdish and anti-NATO rallies that passed off in Stockholm whereas he was holding talks with the alliance’s secretary normal, Jens Stoltenberg, in Istanbul this month. He stated he deliberate to attend the July summit in Lithuania until “extraordinary” circumstances come up.

Turkey can’t strategy Sweden’s NATO bid positively whereas “terrorists” had been protesting in Stockholm, Erdogan stated.

Commenting on Sweden’s latest authorized adjustments Erdogan stated: “This isn’t solely a matter of a legislation modification or a constitutional change… The police ought to forestall these [protests].”

The Alliance Community Towards NATO demonstrates in Stockholm on June 4, 2023 [Maja Suslin/TT News Agency via Reuters]

‘Guarantees made’

NATO requires the unanimous approval of all present members to broaden, and Turkey and Hungary are the one international locations that haven’t but ratified Sweden’s request to hitch.

Sweden has targeted on extraditing suspects with hyperlinks to the Kurdistan Staff’ Get together (PKK) and handed an “anti-terrorism” legislation, however Ankara has made it clear these actions should not sufficient.

In the meantime, the highest Republican on the US Senate International Relations Committee stated on Wednesday that he was blocking a $735m arms sale to Hungary as a result of its authorities has refused to approve Sweden’s bid to hitch NATO.

“Given guarantees that had been made to me and others final yr that this vote can be performed and the truth that it’s now June and nonetheless not performed, I made a decision that the sale of recent US navy tools to Hungary will likely be on maintain,” Senator Jim Risch stated in a press release.

“Hungary ought to take the actions obligatory to permit Sweden into the alliance – and shortly.”

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