“Sweden is confident that Turkey will approve its application for NATO membership, but we cannot fulfill all Turkish demands,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on Sunday, quoted by the Reuters agency.
“Turkey has confirmed that we have done what we said we would do, but they also say that they want things that we cannot or do not want to give them,” the Swedish prime minister said on a conference on defense and security issues in the presence of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
In 2022, Sweden, Finland and Turkey signed a tripartite agreement aimed at removing Turkish objections to the two Scandinavian countries’ bids for NATO membership, Reuters recalls.
“We are convinced that Turkey will make a decision, we just don’t know when,” said the Swedish Prime Minister and added: “The decision is in Turkey‘s hands.”
The two countries applied to join NATO in May in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but Turkey resisted and accused them of harboring terrorist fighters, including from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party
At the press conference on Sunday, Kristersson said that demands that Sweden could not or would not fulfill were outside the scope of the tripartite memorandum.
“From time to time, Turkey mentions persons that it wants to be extradited from Sweden. That is why I said that these issues are considered within the framework of Swedish legislation,” he emphasized.
At the end of December, Turkey announced that it noted the “positive steps” taken by Stockholm, but asked for “other important steps” to remove its objections, AFP recalled, citing statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu . The statements came days after Sweden‘s Supreme Court refused to extradite journalist Bulent Kenes, who lives in exile in Sweden.
Only the Turkish and Hungarian parliaments have not ratified the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO, recalls AFP, quoted by BTA.
On the sidelines of the conference, Finland’s first diplomat Pekka Haavisto confirmed that his country will join NATO at the same time as its neighbor.
“Finland is not in such a hurry to join NATO that it cannot wait for Sweden to get the green light,” Pekka Haavisto told reporters.
At the beginning of November, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson made one of his first international trips to Ankara to try to overturn the Turkish veto, AFP recalls.