Sweden declares its inability to meet Turkey’s demands on NATO

The Swedish Prime Minister announced, on Sunday, that Turkey, which has been blocking since May the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, has pushed demands that Sweden cannot and cannot accept.

“Turkey confirms that we have implemented what we pledged to do, but it also says that it wants things that we cannot and do not want to meet,” Ulf Kristersson said during a conference on defense and security in the presence of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

“We are convinced that Turkey will take a decision, and we do not know when exactly,” he added, noting that “the decision is in Turkey’s camp.”

This decision is especially subject to several factors in Turkish domestic politics.

At the end of December, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Stockholm had taken “positive measures” but that Ankara was waiting for “other big steps” to withdraw its objection to Sweden’s accession to NATO.

And the Secretary-General of NATO announced on Sunday that Sweden and Finland may join NATO as of 2023, but indicated that the decision depends on the Turkish and Hungarian parliaments.

These positions came, a few days after the Swedish Supreme Court refused to deport Turkish journalist Bulent Kennish, who is calling for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to extradite him.

And the Turkish and Hungarian parliaments are the only ones that did not ratify the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO.

As for the Swedish Foreign Minister, the course of implementing the memorandum concluded between Turkey, Sweden and Finland is “in full swing”.

“I can’t give a timeline here and now, but the implementation of the terms of the memorandum is in full swing and we are progressing little by little,” Tobias Bellström told a media briefing.

For his part, the Finnish Foreign Minister confirmed on the sidelines of the conference on Sunday that his country will join NATO, along with its neighbour.

“Finland is not in such a hurry to join NATO that we can’t wait for Sweden to get approval,” Pekka Haavisto told reporters.

He pointed out that the heads of the Swedish parliament and the Finnish parliament are expected to visit Ankara in mid-January. Another meeting between officials from the three countries is scheduled for the spring.

The Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Christerson, who heads a conservative government, made one of his first foreign visits to Ankara, in early November, in an effort to lift the Turkish objection.

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