(Updated §4-7 with meeting)
ANKARA, June 14 (Reuters) –
Sweden should not expect a change in Turkey’s position on its application for NATO membership at the alliance’s summit next month in Vilnius if it does not prevent anti-Turkish protests in Stockholm, said Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey cannot have a positive approach to Sweden’s application for NATO membership while “terrorists” are demonstrating in Stockholm, the Turkish president, quoted on Wednesday, told journalists in the plane bringing him back from a trip to Azerbaijan on Tuesday.
The Turkish position will once again be made clear during a meeting on Wednesday in Ankara with Swedish representatives, he added.
At the end of this meeting, Sweden’s chief negotiator, Oscar Stenstrom, reported good discussions with his Turkish interlocutors, adding that negotiations aimed at overcoming Ankara’s objections would continue. He did not give a date.
“My job is to convince our interlocutors that we have done enough. I think we have,” he said. “But Turkey is not yet ready to make a decision and believes it needs further answers.”
In a statement, the Turkish presidency said the parties agreed to continue working on “concrete steps” towards Sweden’s integration.
Turkey ratified Finland’s NATO membership in March but continues, along with Hungary, to refuse Sweden’s membership.
Ankara criticizes Sweden for tolerating on its soil Kurdish organizations described as “terrorists” by Ankara. (Report by Ece Toksabay and Huseyin Hayatsever, French version Bertrand Boucey, edited by Blandine Hénault and Jean-Stéphane Brosse)
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