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SWEDEN AND TURKEY

KEY POINTS: What is in Sweden’s deal with Turkey over Nato?

Sweden has struck a deal with Turkey that will see it stop supporting the Kurdish government in northern Syria, resume weapons sales to Turkey, and handle extradition requests for people Turkey views as terrorists “expeditiously and thoroughly”. What's in the deal and what will it mean?

KEY POINTS: What is in Sweden's deal with Turkey over Nato?
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, thirdf left, shakes hands with Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, right, next to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center. Photo: Bernat Armangue/AP

What’s in the agreement? 

The trilateral memorandum between Turkey, Sweden and Finland, goes a long way to giving Turkey what it has been asking for in the negotiations which started in May. 

In the document, Sweden and Finland commit to: 

  • Stopping giving support to either the YPG (People’s Defense Units), the Kurdish militia fighting in northern Syria, or to the PYD (Democratic Union Party), the political party which runs the government in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, and will also not support the Gülen movement. 
  • Resuming weapons sales to Turkey (which Sweden had stopped).  
  • Handling extradition requests from Turkey for people it suspects of terrorism “expeditiously and thoroughly, taking into account information, evidence and intelligence provided by Türkiye”. 

This, together with a commitment to intelligence cooperation with Turkey and a strong statement that the PKK is a terror group, goes a long way to meeting the five demands Turkey published at the end of May.

Erdogan’s office hailed the agreement, saying Ankara had “got what it wanted”.

What’s not in the agreement? 

The most striking change in the language used in the treaty is that it does not describe the PYD, YPG, or the Gülen movement, led by the Sunni Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen, as terror groups. 

Turkey originally insisted on referring to the PKK/PYD as a single entity. It treated the PYD, which has cooperated closely with the US and been supported strongly by Sweden, as one and the same as the PKK, which Sweden, together with the US and the rest of the EU, designates as a terror group. 

While Sweden does commit to withdrawing its support for the PYD, it has not condemned it. 

Gulen, a former ally of Erdogan, denies charges of plotting the 2016 coup attempt, and is not viewed as a terrorist leader by the US or Sweden. 

According to Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign minister, ending Sweden’s support for the PYD does not mean it will stop providing humanitarian support to Kurds in northern Syria. 

“We have agreed that Sweden and Finland are not going to support these organisations in any way which impacts on Turkey’s security, like weapons or money,” she told Swedish state broadcaster SR. “And we don’t do that today anyway.”  

What results has the agreement had so far? 

Most obviously, Turkey has dropped its objection to Sweden and Finland becoming Nato members. Nato’s 30 ambassadors will on Wednesday agree to formally invite Sweden and Finland to become members. 

On Wednesday morning, Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said Turkey would now ask for the extradition of 12 suspects from Finland and 21 from Sweden who are either members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or alleged members of a Gülen-led group.

What has the political reaction been in Sweden? 

The Left Party, the Green Party, and the independent MP Amineh Kakabaveh have all condemned the deal. 

  • Kakabaveh has threatened to call a no-confidence vote in foreign minister Ann Linde, but is unlikely to get sufficient backing to hold it.
  • The Left Party has demanded a meeting of party leaders to discuss the agreement.
  • The Green Party has said it will call Linde before the parliament’s foreign policy committee for questioning. 

“It marks a dark day in Swedish political history that we need to negotiate with an Islamic dictator,” Kakabaveh told state broadcaster SVT on Wednesday morning. “The Kurds have been sacrificed in this cynical political approach. Why should the Kurds be sacrificed for Nato membership? Why is Sweden bending over for Erdogan?” 

Green Party joint-leader Märta Stenevi called the changes on weapons exports and extraditions “extremely worrying” while announcing her party’s decision to call Linde to the committee. 

Håkan Svenneling, foreign policy spokesperson for the Left Party, said the agreement marked a “major shift” in Swedish foreign policy, which was “not wholly transparent”. 

“We need to tease out what the agreement actually means, as so far it is not completely clear,” he said. But he said that he did not expect a no-confidence vote in Linde. 

“It’s difficult to see how a no-confidence vote could be carried out, both practically now that the parliament has closed for the summer, and when it comes to getting enough support.” 

Member comments

  1. Russia will now move troops en masse to the Finnish Border as well as Nukes . They will them start provoking Sweden and Finland to see what NATO does in response , which will be nothing , so after they finish with the Ukrainians they will move into Finland . There is no doubt in my mind that Finland will be invaded in the not so far future , at which time Biden will no longer be President , and the Trump Right in America wi give Putin whatever he wants as long as there is peace .

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NATO

US President Biden signs ratification of Swedish Nato bid

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed US ratification of bids by Finland and Sweden to enter Nato, taking expansion of the Western alliance in response to Russia's Ukraine invasion one step closer.

US President Biden signs ratification of Swedish Nato bid

Biden said the two northern European countries would become “strong, reliable highly capable new allies” by making the “sacred commitment” to
mutual defense in the US-led transatlantic alliance.

Earlier this month, the Senate voted 95-1 in favor of the Nordic states’ accession, making the United States the 23rd of the 30 NATO countries to give formal endorsement. Unanimous support is needed for new membership.

Biden, who has made restoring traditional US alliances a cornerstone of his administration after Donald Trump’s move to upend ties around the world,
praised NATO as “the foundation of American security.”

“The United States is committed to the transatlantic alliance.”

Biden also praised Finland and Sweden, saying both have “strong democratic institutions, strong militaries and strong and transparent economies” that
would now bolster NATO.

President Vladimir Putin’s Russia “shattered peace and security in Europe” by invading Ukraine, Biden said. “Putin thought he could break us apart…. Instead, he is getting exactly what he did not want.”

The White House said that ahead of the signing ceremony, Biden talked by telephone with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finland’s
President Sauli Niinisto.

“President Biden congratulated them on the US Senate’s swift, bipartisan ratification of their NATO accession protocols, and welcomed Finland and Sweden moving one step closer to becoming NATO Allies,” the White House said.

While the process plays out, “President Biden affirmed that the United States will work with Finland and Sweden to remain vigilant against any threats to our shared security, and to deter and confront aggression or threat of aggression,” the statement said.

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