Swedish, Finnish delegations in Turkey to discuss NATO bids

2022/05/1653464354.jpg
Read: 448     12:08     25 May 2022    

Swedish and Finnish delegations will meet with Turkish officials on Wednesday to discuss their differences regarding their membership bids to join NATO after Ankara voiced concerns over the Nordic countries’ support for terrorist groups.


The consultations on the two countries' NATO membership applications will be held in Ankara between Turkey’s delegation, headed by Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın and Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal, and the visiting delegations, headed by Swedish Secretary of State Oscar Stenström and Jukka Salovaara, the permanent state secretary of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, respectively.

Sweden and Finland applied to join the trans-Atlantic alliance in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"We have very strict rules on any terrorist acts or any terrorist preparations in our country, and we take very seriously those limitations and rules also (set) by the European Union," Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.

"Now it's of course, our time to convince (Turkey) that our legislation is appropriate regarding the PKK and so forth," he added.

 

Sweden on Tuesday denied that it was providing any “financial assistance or military support” to terrorist groups in Syria. “Sweden is a major humanitarian donor to the Syria crisis through global allocations to humanitarian actors," Foreign Minister Ann Linde told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“Cooperation in northeastern Syria is carried out primarily through the United Nations and international organizations," she said.

Listed as a terror group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – of which Sweden and Finland are members – the PKK has waged an insurgency against Turkey since 1984. Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict.

Among other things, Ankara claimed that Sweden had decided to provide $376 million to support the PKK's Syrian offshoot, the YPG, in 2023 and that it had provided military equipment to them, including anti-tank weapons and drones.

On Monday, Turkey outlined five conditions for it to back Sweden's NATO membership bid, demanding that Sweden lift sanctions against Turkey, including an arms export embargo; end "political support for terrorism"; eliminate sources of terrorism financing and halt arms support to the PKK/YPG, according to a list published by the Presidency's Directorate of Communications.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at Davos that NATO will do “what we always do” and “that is to sit down and address concerns when allies express concerns.”

Stoltenberg said he spoke to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the Turkish leader raised the same issues as he had done publicly – “that’s about terrorism, it’s about concerns about the PKK, and also of course the need for Turkey to acquire the weapons they deem that they need.”

“Part of the solution is also to recognize that despite the fact that there are different views ... among NATO allies on issues related to Turkey, we also have to recognize that Turkey is an important ally. Turkey is the ally that has suffered most terrorist attacks – far more than any other NATO allied country,” he said.



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News Line

Swedish, Finnish delegations in Turkey to discuss NATO bids

2022/05/1653464354.jpg
Read: 449     12:08     25 May 2022    

Swedish and Finnish delegations will meet with Turkish officials on Wednesday to discuss their differences regarding their membership bids to join NATO after Ankara voiced concerns over the Nordic countries’ support for terrorist groups.


The consultations on the two countries' NATO membership applications will be held in Ankara between Turkey’s delegation, headed by Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın and Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal, and the visiting delegations, headed by Swedish Secretary of State Oscar Stenström and Jukka Salovaara, the permanent state secretary of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, respectively.

Sweden and Finland applied to join the trans-Atlantic alliance in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"We have very strict rules on any terrorist acts or any terrorist preparations in our country, and we take very seriously those limitations and rules also (set) by the European Union," Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.

"Now it's of course, our time to convince (Turkey) that our legislation is appropriate regarding the PKK and so forth," he added.

 

Sweden on Tuesday denied that it was providing any “financial assistance or military support” to terrorist groups in Syria. “Sweden is a major humanitarian donor to the Syria crisis through global allocations to humanitarian actors," Foreign Minister Ann Linde told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“Cooperation in northeastern Syria is carried out primarily through the United Nations and international organizations," she said.

Listed as a terror group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – of which Sweden and Finland are members – the PKK has waged an insurgency against Turkey since 1984. Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict.

Among other things, Ankara claimed that Sweden had decided to provide $376 million to support the PKK's Syrian offshoot, the YPG, in 2023 and that it had provided military equipment to them, including anti-tank weapons and drones.

On Monday, Turkey outlined five conditions for it to back Sweden's NATO membership bid, demanding that Sweden lift sanctions against Turkey, including an arms export embargo; end "political support for terrorism"; eliminate sources of terrorism financing and halt arms support to the PKK/YPG, according to a list published by the Presidency's Directorate of Communications.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at Davos that NATO will do “what we always do” and “that is to sit down and address concerns when allies express concerns.”

Stoltenberg said he spoke to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the Turkish leader raised the same issues as he had done publicly – “that’s about terrorism, it’s about concerns about the PKK, and also of course the need for Turkey to acquire the weapons they deem that they need.”

“Part of the solution is also to recognize that despite the fact that there are different views ... among NATO allies on issues related to Turkey, we also have to recognize that Turkey is an important ally. Turkey is the ally that has suffered most terrorist attacks – far more than any other NATO allied country,” he said.



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