Turkey urges Sweden to act over terrorism for NATO membership support


Istanbul (Reuters) – Turkey will act to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership bid in conjunction with cooperation from Stockholm in the fight against terrorism, President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted on Friday as saying.

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership last year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, abandoning policies of military non-alignment that had lasted through the Cold War. Their applications must be approved by all members of the alliance.

Having held up ratification of Sweden’s NATO bid for more than a year, Erdogan unexpectedly agreed after the alliance’s summit in Lithuania this month to forward it to Turkey’s parliament when the legislature reconvenes in October.

“Turkish parliament’s working schedule will determine the process of Sweden’s NATO membership (ratification),” Erdogan told reporters on a flight returning from Gulf countries and northern Cyprus, according to a readout from his office.

“It would be in Sweden’s favour if they take concrete steps on the fight against terrorist organisations and on the extradition of terrorists.”

Ankara accuses Stockholm of doing too little against people Turkey sees as terrorists, mainly members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the group Ankara accuses of orchestrating a 2016 failed coup, with extradition a key sticking point.

Sweden’s top court recently blocked the extradition of two Turkish citizens that Ankara says are part of a terrorist group.

“We expect promises to be fulfilled,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan was referring to a deal Turkey, Sweden and Finland struck last year in Madrid aimed at addressing Ankara’s security concerns.

Turkey on Thursday condemned the partial destruction of a Koran in front of Iraq’s embassy in Stockholm, but did not comment publicly on the incident while on the plane.

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