Turkey’s Position on Sweden’s Membership in NATO: Erdogan’s Latest Remarks and Negotiations Updates

2023-06-14 19:18:45

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today, Wednesday, that Sweden should not expect that Ankara will change its position on Stockholm’s request to join NATO at the summit scheduled to be held next month, unless it stops anti-Turkish protests in the Swedish capital.

He stressed that the constitutional amendments made by Sweden are not sufficient to address Turkey’s concerns, and that Ankara cannot deal positively with Sweden’s membership in NATO at a time when terrorists continue their demonstrations there, as he put it.

Regarding Ankara’s membership negotiations in the European Union, President Erdogan added, “For 50 years, the Union has been stalling regarding Turkey’s accession to it. We will address this issue, and we must also reconsider it.”

He stressed that “orienting towards the East or the West in foreign policy is not one of our principles, as we are close to the West and at the same distance from the East.”

Erdogan’s remarks came during an interview with reporters on the plane during his return from Azerbaijan, which he visited on Tuesday.

On the other hand, Archyde.com news agency quoted Sweden’s chief negotiator on joining NATO as saying that Stockholm is not a safe haven for terrorism or the PKK.

In turn, the White House said that it believes that Sweden should become a member of NATO as soon as possible, noting that it has fulfilled its commitment under the tripartite memorandum of agreement agreed with Finland and Turkey.

He added: We encourage Turkey to accept Sweden’s request to join NATO, and it must do so without delay.

For his part, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said today, Wednesday, that talks in Turkey regarding Sweden’s attempt to join NATO have witnessed progress.

Stoltenberg made his remarks at a news conference on the eve of a meeting of defense ministers in the Western military alliance.

A new quadruple agreement

The Turkish presidency stated that it was agreed with Sweden, Finland and NATO to continue working on the steps of Sweden’s accession to NATO.

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She said that the permanent joint mechanism, formed within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Turkey, Finland and Sweden during the NATO summit in 2022, held its fourth meeting in the presence of Ambassador Akif Çağatay Kilic, senior adviser to the Turkish president.

She added that the Director of the Special Office of the Secretary-General of NATO, the Secretary of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs participated in the meeting.

Sweden and its northern neighbor Finland abandoned decades of military non-alignment and applied to join NATO in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Last March, Turkey ratified Finland’s request to join the alliance, but it still opposes Sweden’s accession to it, as well as Hungary’s opposition.

US President Joe Biden pressured Erdogan to persuade him to agree to Sweden’s accession during a phone call he made with him following the Turkish president won a new term last month.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also discussed the issue with Erdogan in Istanbul earlier this month.

Erdogan indicated that Stoltenberg’s visit coincided with a demonstration organized in Stockholm by supporters of a Kurdish group that Ankara considers a terrorist organization.

Turkey urges Sweden to ban this type of gathering, and to implement security campaigns once morest it.

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