Turkey not to approve Sweden's NATO bid unless counter-terrorism requirements fulfilled: Erdogan

Ankara |Friday, 2023 11:51:05 AM IST
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Turkey will only admit Sweden's NATO bid in the upcoming Vilnius Summit in July if the latter takes concrete steps to prevent anti-Turkey "terror" activities in the country.

"The fact that Sweden has some expectations (for NATO membership) does not mean that we will fulfill these expectations... Sweden has to do its part so that we comply with its expectations," the semi-official Anadolu Agency quoted Erdogan as saying on Wednesday.

The Turkish President noted that there were anti-Turkish protests in Sweden even when he was meeting with visiting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Istanbul on issues of Sweden's joining the alliance earlier this month, Xinhua news agency reported.

"While Stoltenberg was expressing (his opinion about Sweden's joining), unfortunately, the terrorists were rallying in the streets in Sweden," Erdogan said.

His remarks came as the Turkish, Swedish and Finnish officials held the fourth joint mechanism meeting to discuss fulfilling Turkey's conditions for approving Sweden's accession to NATO on Wednesday in Turkey's capital Ankara.

Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO last year but faced objections from Turkey on the grounds that the two countries harbour members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement.

Türkiye eventually lifted its objection to Finland earlier this year after it took "concrete steps" against such organisations, and the country went on to become the organisation's 31st member in April. But Ankara maintains its veto of Sweden.

--IANS int/khz/

( 260 Words)

2023-06-15-03:06:03 (IANS)