Seeking to boost NATO bid, Sweden lifts arms export embargo to Türkiye

Swedish agency dealing with arms sales permits cites country's desire to join NATO as reason for policy reversal.

Seeking to boost NATO bid, Sweden lifts arms export embargo to Türkiye

In line with the Nordic country’s bid to join NATO, a Swedish government agency on Friday lifted a three-year-old ban on arms exports to Türkiye. 

Sweden's Inspectorate of Strategic Products (ISP) said it had resumed arms sales to Türkiye in the third quarter of this year, as part of the country’s NATO bid, but did not name the companies involved.

“With regard to the changed defense and security policy circumstances, ISP has, after an overall assessment, decided to grant a permit for follow-on deliveries from the Swedish defense industry to Turkey,” said the agency’s website, adding that this permit applies to military equipment in the electronic equipment, software, and technical assistance categories.

“The government has made the assessment that Swedish membership in NATO is the best way to safeguard the security of Sweden and the Swedish people,” the agency added.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in June, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine.

However, Türkiye, a member of NATO for over 70 years, voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups and Sweden’s embargo on arms sales to Türkiye.

A trilateral memorandum signed among the countries in June stipulates that Finland and Sweden will not provide support to the YPG/PYD – the terrorist PKK's Syrian offshoot – or to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) – the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Türkiye.

Türkiye’s parliament must ratify Finland's and Sweden’s membership bids for them to join NATO. Turkish officials have stressed, in particular, that the two countries must extradite terrorist suspects within their borders sought by Ankara.

Turkish officials have emphasized that the two countries must live up to the June deal or be ineligible for NATO membership, as all current members of the alliance must approve any new additions.

Hüseyin Demir

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