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Turkey’s Stance on Sweden’s NATO Membership: ‘Action Against Terrorism a Key Requirement’

Turkey’s Parliament Speaker, Numan Kurtulmus, has stated that Turkey is still waiting for Sweden to take action against groups it considers terrorists before approving Sweden’s bid to join NATO.

Kurtulmus emphasized that concrete steps needed to be taken by Sweden and mentioned the recently implemented anti-terrorism law in the European country that prohibits support for outlawed groups.

He urged Sweden to enforce the law effectively.

Kurtulmus also expressed concern that Sweden has not extradited individuals whom Turkey considers to be terrorists.

He questioned the difficulty in extraditing them to Turkey. He, however, clarified that Turkey does not fundamentally oppose Sweden or its neighboring country Finland joining NATO.

Kurtulmus stated that Turkey would not categorically oppose their entry into NATO but stressed that they needed to address certain issues related to terrorist organizations before Turkey could support their accession.

He cited Finland as an example, stating that Finland had taken action against terrorist organizations, which satisfied Turkey and led to Finland’s membership approval.

Now, a similar situation is being considered for Sweden.

Both Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership after the Ukraine conflict began, breaking with their longstanding neutrality.

While Finland became a full-fledged member in April, Sweden’s application is still pending due to Ankara’s demand to crack down on Kurdish activists residing in Sweden.

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom asserted that Sweden has fulfilled its obligations under the new anti-terrorism legislation and called on Turkey to remove any obstacles to the ratification process.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressed hope that Sweden would be able to join the bloc in the coming weeks, echoing the sentiment that Turkey should not hinder the process.

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