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NATO

Turkish president vows to block ‘terror haven’ Sweden from Nato

Turkey is 'determined' to block Sweden's and Finland's bids to join Nato, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday, calling Stockholm in particular a "complete terror haven."

Turkish president vows to block 'terror haven' Sweden from Nato
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he delivers a speech during his party's group meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Photo: Adem Altan/AFP)

Abandoning their long established non-alignment policy after Russia invaded Ukraine, Finland and Sweden on Wednesday submitted a joint application for Nato membership.

But Erdogan is threatening to block the bid, singling out Sweden as “a complete terror focus, a complete terror haven,” in a video broadcast he tweeted on Thursday.

“We will continue this policy in a determined fashion and we told relevant parties that we will say ‘no’ to Finland and Sweden joining Nato,” the Turkish leader said in one excerpt of the video from his chat with young people.

The United States is “confident” that Turkey’s concerns over accession to Nato by Finland and Sweden can be overcome, a top advisor to President Joe Biden said Wednesday.

“We’re confident that at the end of the day Finland and Sweden” will enter Nato and “that Turkey’s concerns can be addressed,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.

Speaking after Erdogan released his video, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that “concerns” raised by Turkey over the Sweden and Finland’s applications to the military alliance were being addressed.

“Of course, we are addressing the concerns that Turkey has expressed,” to find “an agreement on how to move forward,” Stoltenberg told a Copenhagen conference, after Turkey opposed the applications of the two Nordic countries over what it considers leniency toward Kurdish militant groups.

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  1. The Local does not know which way the wind is blowing , so one article makes a defeat look a victory , and another makes a defeat look and sound like a defeat .

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NATO

Turkey drops objections to Sweden joining Nato

Turkey has dropped its objections to Sweden and Finland joining Nato, paving the way for the two Nordic nations to join the North Atlantic defence alliance.

Turkey drops objections to Sweden joining Nato

“We have reached an agreement between Sweden, Turkey and Finland which means that Turkey now accepts that we will be granted invitee status in Nato. That’s important, as it will improve Sweden’s security,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said after a meeting in Madrid with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“It was a very long meeting and Sauli Niinistö and I could describe all the measures we in Sweden have taken regarding terrorism legislation in recent years, and now on July 1st we are tightening that legislation significantly,” Andersson added.

The process of joining Nato requires the approval of all 30 existing members. Turkey had set out a string of demands, including the extradition of what it claims are Kurdish terrorists living in Sweden and a relaxation of Sweden’s ban on selling arms to Turkey. 

In a press release, Nato said that the foreign ministers of Turkey, Sweden and Finland had all signed a trilateral memorandum (find copy here) which addressed “Türkiye’s legitimate security concerns”. 

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Nato leaders would as a result now be able to issue a formal invitation to Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. 

“I’m pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join Nato. Turkey, Finland and Sweden have signed a memorandum that addresses Turkey’s concerns, including around arms exports,
and the fight against terrorism,” he said. 

As aspiring Nato members, he added, Finland and Sweden would not give support to the PYD, the Democratic Union Party of Syria, which runs the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, and would not support the Gülen movement. 

The agreement commits Sweden and Finland to not supporting the PYD, but only classes the PKK as a terrorist organisation. Turkey has previously insisted on describing the PKK/PYD as a single entity. 

The deal also covers the export of Swedish weapons to Turkey. Sweden has not exported weapons to Turkey in recent years, a decision Turkey interprets as an arms embargo. 

“Turkey, Finland and Sweden confirm that there are no national arms embargoes between them. Sweden is changing its national regulatory framework for arms exports in relation to Nato allies,” the document reads. “In future, defence exports from Finland and Sweden will be conducted in accordance with Alliance solidarity and the letter and spirit of Article 3 of the Washington Treaty.”

“If we become Nato members, of course this will have repercussions on how we interpret Swedish weapons exports legislation,” Andersson conceded at the press conference.  

According to Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter newspaper, Säpo, Sweden’s security police, has drawn up a list of “at least ten” people living in Sweden with links to the Kurdish PKK terror organisation, who can be extradited to Turkey. 

According to the newspaper’s government source, two people with PKK links have already been extradited to Turkey this year, and more could follow.

However, Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö stressed to reporters at the press conference that the trilateral deal does not name any individuals who Turkey wants extradited. Instead the agreement commits Sweden and Finland to handling extradition requests “expeditiously and thoroughly”. 

Sweden’s foreign minister, Ann Linde, sent out a celebratory tweet shortly after the announcement. 

She said that the two countries would then start formal accession talks in Brussels next week after which Sweden would officially become a Nato invitee. 

READ ALSO: The next five steps to a Swedish Nato membership

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