Sweden eager to sort out any issues with Turkiye over NATO bid: Premier

Magdalena Andersson says she looks forward to continuing dialogue with Turkiye while consultations continue in Turkish capital.

Sweden eager to sort out any issues with Turkiye over NATO bid: Premier

Sweden is "eager to sort out" any issues that may block its bid to join the NATO alliance, the nation’s prime minister said Wednesday.

"We have bilateral and trilateral discussions with Turkey right now and of course, we are eager to sort out any questions or issues that are at hand from the Turkish side," Magdalena Andersson told a joint press conference in the capital Stockholm with her Estonian counterpart Kaja Kallas.

"So, I look forward to continuing this dialogue," she added.

Asked if Sweden has any intention of changing its stance and acknowledging groups such as the YGP/PKK – the Syrian offshoot of the terrorist PKK – as a terrorist group, Andersson said: "There is one Kurdish organization that is listed as a terrorist organization in Sweden and in the European Union, and that is the PKK."

Consultations on Sweden and Finland’s applications to join the alliance, hosted by Turkiye with the participation of senior diplomats from all three countries, began Wednesday in the capital Ankara.

On Turkiye's stance against Sweden and Finland's NATO bid, Kallas said: "In NATO, we have 30 allies, and different allies have different times to reflect and address the concerns that they have."

Countries can only join NATO with agreement from all 30 of its members, effectively giving Turkiye a veto.

"For us, the accession process was approximately 10 years, for you (Sweden) it's going to be much much shorter," Kallas said. "So I am certain that we will overcome all the obstacles on the way."

Ankara meeting

Earlier, speaking on Turkiye's possible demands at a joint press conference with European Council President Charles Michel in Stockholm, Andersson said: "We will, of course, go through and discuss the list but also try to sort out some ambiguities that have been written in the media and also statements that come from different sources."

Besides, it is of course easy for us to clarify where we send aid money and weapons from the Swedish side,” she said, adding: "We do not send money to the terrorist organization of course nor weapons."

Sweden looks forward to strengthening its bilateral relations with Turkiye, including on peace, security, and the fight against terrorists, she said.

Michel avoided commenting on the ongoing talks between Sweden and Turkiye, saying only that the possible membership is a “new chapter for the future of the EU because of this war launched by Russia against Ukraine."

NATO membership for Sweden and Finland will make Europe safer, she added.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last week – a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.

But Turkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people.

Hüseyin Demir

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