Stockholm hopes to convince Erdogan to lift his veto in Madrid

with AFP


Sweden hopes the measures taken against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will convince the Turkish president to lift his veto on its NATO membership during the Alliance summit on Wednesday and Thursday in Madrid, Brussels said on Monday. Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

“We strongly condemn terrorism and we consider the PKK a terrorist organization,” she said after a meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels with Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Ankara blocks the membership of Sweden and Finland, accused of harboring militants of the PKK, an organization considered “terrorist”, and denounces the presence in these countries of supporters of the preacher Fethullah Gülen, suspected of having orchestrated a coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016.

Ms Andersson listed the steps taken by Stockholm to address Turkey’s concerns: “legislation against the financing of terrorism, new laws to criminalize participation in terrorist organisations, the handling of extradition requests submitted by Ankara and the commitment never to be a refuge for terrorists”. The Secretary General of NATO organized a new meeting in Brussels on Monday with representatives of Turkey, Sweden and Finland to find answers to the concerns expressed by Ankara.

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“I will not make any promises or speculate on specific timelines,” said NATO Secretary General

“I very much hope that this dialogue can be concluded successfully in the near future, ideally before the summit,” said Ms. Andersson. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to meet his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö and Ms Andersson in Madrid on Tuesday at the start of the Atlantic Alliance summit held in the Spanish capital. “Sweden has taken concrete steps to respond to Turkey. They constitute a paradigm shift in the face of the terrorist threat,” said Jens Stoltenberg.

The Secretary General of NATO, however, remained cautious. “It’s still too early to say if we will have progress from here to the summit” of Madrid, he declared. “I will not make any promises or speculate on specific timelines,” he warned. “The summit was never a deadline. But it takes place. All the leaders (of NATO) are present there, as well as the Swedish and Finnish leaders.

So that gives us an opportunity that we should take to see if we can make progress,” he explained. “The candidatures of Sweden and Finland will make it possible to strengthen NATO, but one of the allies, Turkey, has expressed specific security concerns and we must take them into account”, explained Jens Stoltenberg.

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