Türkiye urges Sweden for concrete steps on NATO bid

Türkiye urges Sweden for concrete steps on NATO bid

Türkiye urges Sweden for concrete steps on NATO bid

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With around a month left for NATO critical leaders’ summit scheduled to take place in Vilnius, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan has spoken over the phone with his Swedish and American counterparts separately to reiterate that Türkiye expects Sweden to take concrete steps in line with the trilateral agreement if it wants to join the alliance.

Fidan held separate phone conversations with Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken late on June 7, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. The main theme of both engagements was Sweden’s aspiration to join NATO before the Vilnius Summit of NATO on July 11 and 12.

Fidan told Billström that Ankara expects concrete actions from Stockholm in line with the trilateral memorandum signed between Türkiye, Sweden and Finland in June 2022. The agreement obliges Finland and Sweden to cooperate with Türkiye in the fight against terrorism, stop the activities of the terrorists and extradite the terrorists.

As Finland complied with the memorandum, the Turkish parliament ratified its application in late March. Sweden has still things to do, Ankara believes.

Turkish and Swedish foreign ministers also agreed to establish contact after the next meeting of the joint permanent commission, which will take place in Türkiye in the coming days. The permanent mechanism assesses to what extent the trilateral memorandum has been implemented by the applicant countries.

Sweden to extradite PKK terrorist

In the meantime, according to the reports by the Swedish media, the Swedish top court has agreed to extradite a PKK-affiliated person to Türkiye, but the last word still belongs to the Swedish government.

Swedish daily Aftonbladet reported that the man would be the first PKK supporter to be returned to Türkiye following the signing of the trilateral mechanism. The 35-year-old man was sentenced in 2014 to four years and seven months in a Turkish prison for transporting a bag containing cannabis, the newspaper said. Türkiye seeks him because of his ties to the PKK, it added.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had urged Sweden to return the terrorists Türkiye had demanded if it wants to enter the alliance. He had said that a list of terrorists had been handed over to the Swedish authorities.

Fidan speaks with Blinken, too

Fidan also discussed the Swedish bid to join the alliance with Blinken on the phone. According to a statement by the Foreign Ministry, Blinken congratulated Fidan on his new job.

It said the two men discussed Sweden’s application to NATO, the normalization processes between Türkiye and Armenia, as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan, Türkiye’s demand of buying 40 new F-16s and the continuation of the grain deal.

The two ministers have agreed to meet at the soonest possible date to talk further on these issues.

Washington has said many times that Sweden has fulfilled the requirements to join NATO, and its participation will further increase the collective defense and deterrence of the alliance at a time when Russian aggression is threatening the security of the entire Europe.

Most of the allies want to see Sweden as the 32nd member at the Vilnius Summit, meaning that the ratification procedures at the Turkish parliament should be concluded swiftly within a month.