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NATO

Nato head aims to solve Sweden’s Nato deadlock ‘by Madrid summit’

Nato's Secretary-General said on Wednesday that he hoped to end Turkey's opposition to Sweden and Finland joining the alliance in time for a summit in Madrid at the end of this month.

Nato head aims to solve Sweden's Nato deadlock 'by Madrid summit'
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hold a joint press conference in the Benjamin Franklin Room of the State Department in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2022. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/AFP

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he would convene senior officials from the three nations in Brussels in the coming days “to ensure that we make progress on the applications of Finland and Sweden to join Nato.”

“My intention is to have this in place before the Nato summit” in Madrid starting on June 28, Stoltenberg said on a visit to Washington.

“Finland and Sweden have made it clear that they are ready to sit down and to address the concerns expressed by Turkey,” Stoltenberg told a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Sweden and Finland have historically tried to steer clear of angering nearby Russia but shed their reluctance to join Nato after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine — which had unsuccessfully sought to join the alliance.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “wanted less . He is getting more Nato,” Stoltenberg said.

READ ALSO: Could Turkey block Sweden from Nato membership?

But all 30 Nato members need to agree to admit a new member and Turkey has voiced objections, citing the presence in the two Nordic nations of militants from the PKK, the Kurdish separatist group considered terrorists by Ankara.

Stoltenberg said that the two nations and Nato took the PKK issue “very seriously.”

“We know that no other Nato ally has had suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey,” Stoltenberg said.

Blinken reiterated that he remained “very confident” that Nato will “move forward” with the membership of the two nations.

He appeared to play down linking the membership to Turkey’s desire to buy F-16 fighter jets, as some pundits believe Ankara is holding out for concessions.

“These are separate questions. We have a longstanding and ongoing defence relationship with Turkey as a Nato ally,” Blinken said. “We’ll continue to work through cases as they as they arise with regard to systems that Turkey seeks to acquire,” Blinken said.

The United State expelled Turkey in 2019 from development of the state-of-the-art F-35 in retaliation for Ankara’s purchase of an advanced air defense system from Russia.

But Turkey’s image has risen in the United States through its drones that it has sold to Ukraine, even as Ankara avoids sanctions on Russia.

Member comments

  1. Turkey is doing whatever it wants, disrupting the interests of anyone on the Western side with its bargaining tactics, and is certainly not very different from Russia. This is what NATO should address, not ask Sweden to obey to Turkey.

  2. Just a shallow research can indicate how turkey-friendly this NATO secretery (jens) is. I hope Sweden is going to stand its moral ground and not commit to Erdogan’s demands… Better out of NATO and true to oneself than in NATO and selling ones beliefs.

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SWEDEN AND TURKEY

Sweden extradites first Turk since striking Nato deal

Sweden's government said on Thursday that it would hand over a Turkish citizen convicted of credit card fraud to Ankara, the first known extradition since Sweden struck a deal with Turkey promising to deal with extraditions "expeditiously and thoroughly".

Sweden extradites first Turk since striking Nato deal

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to block both Sweden and Finland from NATO membership unless they meet several demands, including the extradition of people Ankara considers “terrorists”.

Erdogan accuses the two countries of being havens for Kurdish militants, specifically highlighting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The man facing extradition was identified in Swedish court documents as Okan Kale, and was convicted in Turkey of credit card fraud in 2013 and 2016.

He sought asylum in Sweden in 2011 but his request was denied. He was granted refugee status in Italy in 2014. Kale’s name features on a list published in Turkish media of people that Ankara wants extradited from Sweden.

READ ALSO: 

The justice ministry would however not comment on whether the man was on a list drawn up by Turkey. It noted that Ankara had sought his extradition in 2021 — long before the Stockholm’s application to join the North Atlantic alliance in May.

“This is a regular, routine matter,” justice ministry spokeswoman Angelica Vallgren told AFP. “The extradition request was received last year.”

Kale has been held in Swedish custody since December 2021.

In an agreement signed by Sweden and Finland at a NATO summit in Madrid in late June, the two countries agreed to examine Turkish extradition requests “expeditiously and thoroughly”.

Erdogan said Sweden had made a “promise” to extradite “73 terrorists”.

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