World, Europe

Sweden hopes for a NATO ratification after Turkish election, PM Kristersson says

We preferred to be ratified with Finland, but we respect Türkiye’s decision, Swedish prime minister says in Berlin

Ayhan Simsek  | 15.03.2023 - Update : 15.03.2023
Sweden hopes for a NATO ratification after Turkish election, PM Kristersson says Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson speaks at a meeting at Hertie School in Berlin, Germany on March 15, 2023. ( Omer Sercan Karkus - Anadolu Agency )

BERLIN (AA) - Sweden hopes that its NATO membership will be ratified after the Turkish elections in May, the Swedish prime minister said Wednesday.

“We believe that we are ready for ratification, but we respect that only Türkiye can make Türkiye’s decisions,” Ulf Kristersson said at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Asked about media reports that claimed Türkiye will ratify Finland’s NATO accession next month, but wait for Sweden’s concrete steps against terror groups before approving Stockholm’s bid, Kristersson said they are prepared for ratifications in different stages.

“We preferred to be ratified together, to make the whole journey hand in hand. But I've always also expressed the fact that each of the 30 countries in the NATO make their own ratification decisions, and we have full respect for that,” he said.

The Swedish prime minister recalled that they have discussed Türkiye’s expectations from Sweden and Finland during trilateral talks and they made good progress in this process.

“We hope for a rapid ratification process after the Turkish election. And we feel very comfortable in all the support we have received from other NATO allies, including security assurances,” he added.

Abandoning decades of military non-alignment, Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last May.

But Turkiye, a longstanding NATO member, asked the two Nordic states to take concrete action against terror groups like the PKK and FETO, which carry out propaganda, funding and recruitment activities in these countries.

In June, Finland, and Sweden signed a memorandum with Türkiye to address Ankara’s security concerns, and senior diplomats and officials from the three countries held various meetings since then to discuss the implementation of the trilateral agreement.

Turkish authorities have welcomed steps taken by Finland to address Ankara’s concerns, but say Sweden has not yet taken satisfactory steps despite earlier commitments.

The Swedish parliament is expected to discuss a new anti-terrorism legislation in May. The new legislation to target the financing, aiding and propagation of terrorist groups, a key demand by Ankara.

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