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Sweden and Finland concessions to Turkey

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What have Sweden and Finland offered Turkey to lift its veto on NATO membership?

After a month of diplomatic contacts in Ankara, Brussels and Madrid, the governments of Sweden, Finland and Turkey managed to overcome the differences that threatened to block NATO’s northern enlargement “sine die”. An image of division that the allies wanted to avoid at all costs in the midst of a confrontation with Vladimir Putin and the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the background. These are the main commitments of the memorandum that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has wrested from Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö to lift their veto on his accession.

  • Resuming arms sales to Turkey (which Sweden had halted).
  • Handling Turkey’s extradition requests for individuals suspected of terrorism “in a prompt and thorough manner, taking into account information, evidence and intelligence provided by Turkey.”
  • Stop giving support to the People’s Defense Units (YPG), the Kurdish militia fighting in northern Syria, or to the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the political party that runs the government in the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria, as well as to the movement of US-exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara accuses of the failed 2016 coup d’état
  • A commitment to intelligence cooperation with Turkey
  • A strong declaration that the PKK is a terrorist group

That’s everything Erdogan have asked, point by point.

According to Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign minister, ending Sweden’s support for the PYD does not mean that it will stop providing humanitarian support to the Kurds in northern Syria. “We have agreed that Sweden and Finland will not support these organizations in any way that affects Turkey’s security, such as weapons or money,” she told Radio Sweden. “And we don’t do that today anyway.”

Most obviously, Turkey has dropped its objection to Sweden and Finland becoming NATO members. NATO’s 30 ambassadors on Wednesday formally invited Sweden and Finland to become members of the military organization.

Without even waiting for the agreement to come into force, Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said Wednesday morning that Turkey will now seek the extradition of 12 suspects from Finland and 21 from Sweden who are members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or alleged members of a group led by Gülen.

 

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