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Turkey demands concessions from Finland and Sweden to unlock NATO accession

Sweden has already announced some concessions to Ankara: the country began work to amend its anti-terror legislation, while its legal framework for arms exports is due to be changed, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
HANDOUT - 06 April 2022, Belgium, Brussels: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (C) receives Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (L) and Swedeish Foreign Minister Ann Linde prior to a meeting on the sidelines of the meetings of the NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs. Photo: -/NATO/dpa - ATTENTION: editorial use only and only if the credit mentioned above is referenced in full.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (C) with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (L) and Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde in Brussels. Photo: NATO/File photo.

Turkey appeared in no hurry to drop its opposition to Sweden and Finland's bids to join NATO on Wednesday, with Ankara demanding written commitments to the "fight against terrorism" from both countries, according to Turkey's Communications Ministry.

Demands that Sweden and Finland pledge to affect a "paradigm shift" in their approach to terrorism and commit to cooperating with Turkey in the field of defence were the outcome of a telephone conversation between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that documents already sent by Sweden and Finland fell far short of meeting Turkey's expectations, according to state news agency Anadolu.

Sweden and Finland both applied for NATO membership in mid-May in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Turkey, however, has so far blocked both bids, justifying its stance by citing what it says is both countries' alleged support of "terrorist organizations" such as the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party PKK and the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG.

Swedish concessions to Ankara

Sweden has already announced some concessions to Ankara. According to Stoltenberg, the country began work to amend its anti-terror legislation, while its legal framework for arms exports is due to be changed to reflect Sweden's future status as a NATO member and its obligations towards its new allies.

Asked when the problem would be solved, Stoltenberg said that he couldn't say for sure, but that a solution was being sought as quickly as possible.

The original plan had been to sign the so-called accession protocols for Finland and Sweden ahead of the NATO summit due to be held in Madrid at the end of June, allowing Sweden and Finland to take part as "invitees" ahead of their full NATO membership.

Turkey demands concessions from Finland and Sweden to unlock NATO accession
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