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Ankara celebrates a “national victory”, concern and indignation in Stockholm

Everyone will be in the family photo. After several weeks of tension, Turkey finally agreed to support Finland and Sweden’s request to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). “We now have an agreement which paves the way for membership” of the two Scandinavian countries, rejoiced the Secretary General of the Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, on Tuesday June 28, at the end of a meeting of nearly four hours in Madrid between the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Swedish Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, and Finnish President, Sauli Niinistö.

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The three leaders have “signed a memorandum that responds to Turkey’s concerns, particularly regarding arms exports and the fight against terrorism”, assured the Secretary General of NATO, while a possible veto from Ankara threatened to pollute the summit of the Atlantic Alliance, scheduled until Thursday in the Spanish capital. By agreeing to support the membership of Finland and Sweden, Turkey allows the thirty member countries of the most powerful military alliance on the planet to present a united front against Russia, which has once again become a direct threat since its invasion of Turkey. Ukraine, February 24.

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To obtain this agreement, the two Scandinavian countries had to make important concessions to Turkey, a member of NATO since 1952. In the memorandum signed by the three capitals, Finland and Sweden recognize that “one of the key elements of the Alliance is unwavering solidarity and cooperation in the fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”. The two countries claim above all that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is “a terrorist organization” and commit to ” to prevent [ses] activities “ as well as those of “all other terrorist organizations and their extensions”citing in particular the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria (PYD) and the movement of Fethullah Gülen (FETÖ), considered by Ankara as the instigator of the July 15, 2016 coup.

More precisely still, Finland and Sweden affirm in the three pages of the memorandum that they will treat “quickly and thoroughly” requests for the extradition of persons of Turkish nationality suspected of terrorism by Ankara, “taking into account the information, evidence and intelligence provided by Turkey”. The two countries also agree to lift their embargo on the sale of certain weapons to Ankara, decreed in 2019 following the incursion of the Turkish army into northern Syria. A recurring request from Mr. Erdogan.

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