Sweden can't meet some Turkey demands for NATO bid: PM

Turkey has made some demands that Sweden cannot accept, Sweden's prime minister said on Sunday

AFP January 08, 2023
Sweden's Minister of Finance Magdalena Andersson delivers a speech after being elected as party leader of the Social Democratic Party at the party's congress, in Gothenburg, Sweden, November 4, 2021. Adam Ihse/TT News Agency via REUTERS

Turkey, which has for months blocked NATO membership bids by Sweden and Finland, has made some demands that Sweden cannot accept, Sweden's prime minister said on Sunday.

"Turkey has confirmed that we have done what we said we would do, but it also says that it wants things that we can't, that we don't want to, give it," Ulf Kristersson said during a security conference also attended by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

"We are convinced that Turkey will make a decision, we just don't know when," he said, adding that it will depend on internal politics inside Turkey as well as "Sweden's capacity to show its seriousness."

Sweden and Finland broke with decades of military non-alignment and applied to join the US-led defence alliance in response to Russia's February invasion of Ukraine.

But Turkey has refused to approve their bid until the two countries take steps, including joining Turkey's fight against banned Kurdish militants.

Most of Turkey's demands have involved Sweden because of its more robust ties with the Kurdish diaspora.

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Finland's foreign minister said that the country would join NATO at the same time as its neighbour.

"Finland is not in such a rush to join NATO that we can't wait until Sweden gets the green light," Pekka Haavisto, told reporters at Sunday's conference.

In late December, Turkey praised Sweden for responding to its security concerns but stressed more was needed to win Ankara's full backing for Stockholm's stalled NATO membership bid.


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