The NATO chief once again asked Erdogan to lift the veto on Sweden’s candidacy: “Stockholm has complied with Turkey’s demands”

Jens Stoltenberg and Tayyip Erdogan (via Reuters) (PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE /)

The general secretary of the NATO, Jens Stoltenbergurged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this Sunday to lift his veto on the Swedish candidacy, and affirmed that Stockholm has complied with Ankara’s demands.

since 13 months, Türkiye blocks Sweden’s entry into the Atlantic Alliancefor considering it too benevolent towards the Kurdish militants that it harbors in its territory, and that according to Ankara are “terrorists”.

Sweden has taken concrete and significant steps to respond to Turkey’s concerns”, Stoltenberg told the press after meeting with the Turkish president, who on Saturday began a third presidential term, for a period of five years.

Sweden has met its obligations”, emphasized the NATO chief, present on Saturday at Erdogan’s inauguration ceremony along with dozens of leaders from around the world.

However, the talks did not advance substantially this Sunday.

“President Erdogan and I we have agreed today that the permanent joint mechanism will meet again in the week beginning 12 June. Membership will make Sweden safer, but also NATO and Turkey stronger,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Istanbul.

Stoltenberg's meeting with the Turkish president in Istanbul (Reuters)
Stoltenberg’s meeting with the Turkish president in Istanbul (Reuters) (MURAT CETINMUHURDAR / PPO /)

NATO wants to bring in Sweden when US President Joe Biden and other allied leaders meet in Lithuania on July 11-12, but Türkiye and Hungary have not yet endorsed the measure. All 31 member countries must ratify a candidate’s accession protocol before the candidate can join the transatlantic alliance.

Sweden and Finland, fearful of becoming a target of Moscow after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, abandoned their traditional positions of military non-alignment to seek protection under the NATO security umbrella.

Sweden initially had the goal of joining NATO at the same time as Finlandthat it became the 31st member of the military alliance on April 4.

While Stoltenberg was holding talks in Istanbul, hundreds of people, including dozens of pro-Kurdish protesters, gathered in Stockholm to demonstrate against Sweden’s planned NATO membership. Up to 500 people took part in the action entitled “No to NATO – no to Erdogan’s laws in Sweden”.

They rallied under the banner of the “Alliance Against NATO,” which brings together a mix of Kurdish organizations, left-wing groups, anarchists, youth and climate activists, and people who oppose Sweden’s new anti-terror laws, which came into force. on June 1, as well as those who demand freedom for the media.

In January, a protest in Stockholm in which a copy of the Koran was burned brought Sweden’s accession negotiations to NATO to a standstill, after Erdogan called off the meetings. The incident sparked anti-Sweden demonstrations across the Muslim world.

Stoltenberg seemed to suggest that the protests might have arisen during their talks.

“I understand that it is hard to see anti-Turkey and anti-NATO demonstrations in Sweden,” Stoltenberg said. “But let me be clear, freedom of assembly and expression are core values ​​in our democratic societies. These rights must be protected and defended.”

(With information from AFP and AP)

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