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Erdoğan asks Sweden to do more to get Turkey’s approval to join Nato


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sweden had to do more to convince him to drop its opposition to efforts to join the NATO alliance, including deporting asylum seekers whom it government His government wants prosecution for terrorism-related crimes.

Sweden and Finland ended their longstanding military disengagement and applied to join NATO in May. But Turkey, the country with Nato’s second-largest army, refused to approve their joint bid. It accuses Sweden of providing a safe haven for people with alleged links to Kurdish fighters and a religious network blamed for a failed military coup in 2016.

During Tuesday’s press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Erdoğan welcomed Sweden’s recent decision to lift an arms embargo against Turkey, introduced in 2019 after Turkey’s invasion strategy in Syria against the Kurdish fighters. However, he said he expected Sweden to take “concrete steps” by the end of November to fully implement the commitments it agreed to in a memorandum of understanding signed with Finland and Turkey. Period in June.

“Sweden wants Nato membership for its own security, and we want a Sweden that will help remove our security concerns,” Mr. Erdoğan said. “We sincerely look forward to Sweden recognizing Nato membership, after the full implementation of the memorandum.”

Kristersson said that joining the alliance is “because national security is important to us because security in our European region is deteriorating due to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.” The newly elected conservative prime minister has pledged to separate his government from Kurdish groups fighting Islamic State in Syria, as Turkey considers them terrorists because of its links to insurgents in Syria. country.

“My government was just elected a few weeks ago with a mandate to put law and order first, and this includes fighting terrorism and terrorist organizations,” he said. “I want to assure all Turkish people that Sweden will comply with all its obligations to Turkey in combating the terrorist threat before becoming a member of NATO and an ally in the world. future”.

Among Turkey’s demands is the return of dozens of people it accuses of terrorism, despite the Swedish Supreme Court’s rejection of extradition in some cases. The June memorandum commits Sweden and Finland to resolve Turkey’s deportation requests and create mechanisms to facilitate extraditions.

Erdoğan said that four people have been deported to Turkey, and the total number is left to negotiate. But he singled out a journalist, accusing him of belonging to an Islamic network led by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey says masterminded an aborted coup plot. 2016. He said: “The deportation of this terrorist to Turkey is very important for us.

“The exploitation of the democratic environment in Sweden by terrorist organizations must be absolutely prevented,” Erdoğan said. “When our citizens saw these terrorists walking the boulevards of Sweden and Finland with terror rags in their hands, they forced me to account.”

Erdoğan said that concessions from Sweden would help him run for office next year in Turkey and “appear before our people with a great victory against terrorism”.

All 30 NATO members except Hungary and Turkey have approved the accession of the Nordic countries. The Hungarian government said the parliament would ratify its accession before the end of the year.

Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary general, pressed Erdoğan and other senior Turkish officials last week to drop their objections to Sweden’s application, saying they had fulfilled their promise to Turkey. and “the time has come to welcome Finland and Sweden as full members of Nato”.

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