Swedish PM Kristersson pledges to meet Turkey’s demands for NATO membership

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson

Ankara : Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson promised to meet Turkish security demands in an effort to get Ankara’s approval of his country’s bid to join the NATO.

“We will fully implement the trilateral memorandum,” Kristersson said at a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan here on Tuesday.

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“Sweden will take important steps with regards to the fight against terror,” he added.

The Prime Minister further said that his country plans to introduce new legislation by 2023 to fight terror groups, whether they pose risk to Sweden or Turkey.

Kristersson said Sweden has designated the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as a terrorist organization and his government was willing to support Turkey in its fight against the group.

“Joining this alliance is a vital security issue for us. Being a NATO member means taking (security) responsibility for other allies,” he added.

Kristersson held talks with Erdogan on Tuesday in a bid to convince the Turkish leader to approve Sweden’s bid to join the NATO.

“Sweden wants NATO membership for its own security, and we want to see a Sweden that supports our own security concerns,” Erdogan said.

Finland and Sweden’s NATO bid was initially blocked by Ankara, which accused them of supporting anti-Turkey groups as they rejected Ankara’s extradition requests for the suspects affiliated with the PKK and the Gulen movement.

On June 28, Turkey, Sweden and Finland reached a trilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) ahead of the NATO Madrid summit.

Sweden and Finland pledged to support Turkey’s fight against terrorism and agreed to address Ankara’s pending deportation or extradition requests for terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly.

Turkey remains one of the two NATO members yet to ratify their accession, as Ankara has been complaining that the two countries have moved too slowly in fulfilling their commitments over the Turkish security concerns.

The PKK, listed as a terror organization by Turkey, the US and the EU, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades.

The Gulen movement, led by the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, has been accused by the government of masterminding the 2016 failed coup to topple Erdogan’s rule. — AA

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