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Sweden braces for NATO talks in Ankara amid Türkiye’s objections

A trilateral meeting between Turkish, Swedish and NATO officials will be held on Tuesday in the Turkish capital Ankara for the Nordic country’s NATO accession bid.

Sweden hopes for approval for its membership process from Türkiye, one of two countries, along with Hungary, which opposed its admission to the alliance unless it fulfills certain conditions.

Ankara’s stance remains firm on the issue as Turkish officials await the results of a constitutional amendment and a counterterrorism bill by Stockholm that sought to address Türkiye’s concerns.

Further talks are expected between Sweden and Türkiye, even after the possible ratification of Sweden’s bid, in order to continue counterterrorism cooperation. Officials say sustainability of the current trilateral mechanism is necessary, citing that counterterrorism is always ongoing.

NATO and Sweden repeatedly expressed the desire to have Sweden as a NATO member in next month’s NATO summit in Vilnius and view Tuesday’s meeting as a significant step to achieve this goal.

Sweden’s NATO bid was on the agenda of alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s visit to Türkiye earlier this month to attend the inauguration of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In his talks with Erdoğan, Stoltenberg assured that they understood Türkiye’s security concerns and pointed to a constitutional amendment on Jan. 1 and the counterterrorism bill that came into force on June 1.

Türkiye underlines that Sweden should fulfill clauses in an agreement signed at a Madrid summit. It appreciated the bill and amendment, but Turkish officials say the implementation of those changes should be observed (before the approval of NATO membership).

Sweden and Finland – which historically stayed militarily non-aligned to avoid conflict with their giant neighbor – have formally sought NATO membership after Russia invaded Ukraine last year, which had unsuccessfully tried to join the alliance and its joint security guarantees.

Days after implementing a counterterrorism bill, Sweden charged a man last Friday with “attempted aggravated extortion, an aggravated weapons offense and attempted terrorist financing,” saying he was acting on behalf of the PKK terrorist group.

Swedish media noted it was the first time someone in Sweden was prosecuted for alleged financing of the PKK. Türkiye has accused the Swedish government of not doing enough to crack down on members of the PKK. The PKK’s bloody campaign of terrorism in Türkiye has killed thousands of people in the country since the 1980s.

Source: DailySabah

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