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NATO

Sweden not funding or arming ‘terrorist organisations’, PM tells Turkey

Sweden does not fund or arm terrorist organisations, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Wednesday, refuting Turkish claims and opposition to its Nato bid over its support for Kurdish militant groups.

Sweden not funding or arming 'terrorist organisations', PM tells Turkey
Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson at the press conference on May 25th. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

“We are not sending money to terrorist organisations, of course, nor any weapons,” Andersson told a Stockholm press conference.

Her remarks came as Finnish and Swedish delegations began discussions with Ankara on Wednesday, which Andersson said would provide an opportunity to
clear up what she said was “confusion” circulating about Swedish support for different groups.

Turkey has opposed the applications of Sweden and neighbouring Finland, in particular Sweden, over what it considers leniency toward Kurdish militant groups in the Nordic countries.

Stockholm and Helsinki submitted their bids to join NATO last week, reversing decades of military non-alignment, after political and public support for membership soared following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A membership bid must be unanimously approved and many of the alliance’s 30 members were quick to welcome them.

Turkey has, however, accused Sweden and Finland of acting as hotbeds for terrorist groups and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has insisted Ankara will not approve the two countries’ bids.

Turkey’s presidency on Monday published a list of five demands for Sweden, including calls for an end to funding and supplying arms to Kurdish groups in Syria.

The two Nordic countries have also failed to respond positively to Turkey’s 33 extradition requests over the past five years, Turkish justice ministry sources told the official Anadolu news agency last week.

The agency reported Turkey wanted individuals who were accused of having links to Kurdish militants or of belonging to a movement blamed for the 2016 attempted overthrow of Erdogan.

Turkey has rebuked Sweden especially for showing what it describes as leniency towards the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

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BREAKING

Sweden and Finland formally invited to become Nato members

Nato leaders agreed on Wednesday to formally invite Finland and Sweden to join the alliance after Turkey struck a deal with the Nordic duo to drop its objections, a statement said.

Sweden and Finland formally invited to become Nato members

“Today, we have decided to invite Finland and Sweden to become members of Nato, and agreed to sign the Accession Protocols,” a declaration from a summit in Madrid said.

 
The statement on the invitation, point 18 out of 20 in the declaration, stressed the importance of the trilateral memorandum struck with Turkey on Tuesday night. 
 
“In any accession to the Alliance, it is of vital importance that the legitimate security concerns of all Allies are properly addressed,” the declaration reads. “We welcome the conclusion of the trilateral memorandum between Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden to that effect.”
 
Finland and Sweden joining Nato “will make them safer, Nato stronger, and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure,” the declaration continue. 
 
It also reiterated security guarantees given by Nato countries, stating that during the accession process the security of Sweden and Finland would be “of direct importance to the Alliance”. 

 
During a meeting with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the start of the meeting, US President Joe Biden said that Sweden and Finland’s accession to the defence alliance showed that the strategy of Vladimir Putin had failed. 
 
“It demonstrates that President Putin has not succeeded in closing Nato’s door. He’s getting the opposite of what he wants,” he said. “He wants less Nato. President Putin is getting more Nato, while Finland Sweden are joining our Alliance.” 

Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauséda said that it was likely that byt he time his country hosts Nato’s next summit in Riga next year, both Finland and Sweden will be members. 

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