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Sweden’s chief vows to counter terror threats to Turkey

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ANKARA, Turkey — Sweden’s new prime minister pledged Tuesday to work towards countering “terrorism” threats to Turkey, as his authorities seeks Turkey’s approval for his nation’s NATO membership bid.

Sweden and Finland deserted their longstanding insurance policies of navy nonalignment and utilized for NATO membership this yr after Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February, fearing that Russian President Vladimir Putin may goal them subsequent.

But Turkey, which joined NATO in 1952, has not but endorsed their accession, which requires unanimous approval from current alliance members. The Turkish authorities has accused Sweden — and to a lesser diploma Finland — of ignoring its safety issues.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authorities is urgent the 2 nations to crack down on people it considers terrorists, together with supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and other people the federal government suspects of orchestrating a failed 2016 coup in Turkey.

“My government was elected just a few weeks ago on a mandate to put law and order first,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson stated throughout a joint information convention with Erdogan. “And this includes countering terrorism and terrorist organizations like the PKK in Sweden.”

“This is why I want to reassure all Turks: Sweden will live up to all the obligations made to Turkey in countering the terrorist threat before becoming a member of NATO and as a future ally,” he stated.

Erdogan stated he welcomed the brand new Swedish governments dedication to assembly obligations that have been agreed between Turkey, Sweden and Finland forward of a NATO summit in June however stated his nation needed to see “concrete steps.”

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Erdogan additionally described as a “positive step” a call by Sweden to carry an arms embargo imposed following Turkey’s 2019 incursion into northern Syria to fight Kurdish militants.

“Sweden wants NATO membership for its own security. We want to see a Sweden that supports our security concerns being met,” Erdogan stated.

The Turkish chief stated no less than 4 people needed by Turkey had been deported, however wouldn’t say what number of extra Ankara needed. Erdogan stated nevertheless, {that a} former journalist needed for alleged hyperlinks to the 2016 coup try ought to be extradited.

Earlier, Turkish parliament speaker Mustafa Sentop stated Sweden nonetheless has “many steps to take” earlier than Turkey’s parliament can approve its NATO membership. Sentop claimed that teams that Ankara considers to be terrorists have been nonetheless in a position to conduct “propaganda, financing and recruitment activities” in Sweden.

Sweden’s new center-right authorities is taking a tougher line not simply towards the PKK, but in addition towards the Syrian Kurdish militia group YPG and its political department, PYD. Turkey regards the YPG because the Syrian arm of the PKK.

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström instructed Swedish Radio there have been shut hyperlinks between the PKK and the YPG/PYD, so Sweden would subsequently “keep a distance” from Syrian teams so as to not hurt relations with Turkey.

Members of Sweden’s earlier Social Democratic authorities criticized the feedback. Former Justice Minister Morgan Johansson referred to as the brand new authorities’s dealing with of the NATO accession course of “worrying and acquiescent.”

Kurds in Sweden have been additionally vital. Kurdo Baksi, a Kurdish author who has lived in Sweden for many years, referred to as Billström’s remarks disrespectful, given the sacrifices that Syrian Kurds made in combating the Islamic State group.

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Around 100,000 Kurds dwell in Sweden, whereas Finland is residence to fifteen,000 Kurds.

In Syria, PYD spokesperson Sama Bakdash accused Turkey of supporting “terrorist factions” in Syria.

“We believe that the Swedish government’s bowing to Turkish blackmail contradicts the principles and morals of Swedish society and the humanitarian attitudes that characterized Sweden,” she stated.

All 30 NATO member nations should formally ratify the accession protocol for Finland and Sweden to hitch, however the parliaments of Turkey and Hungary have but to take action.

Last week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg traveled to Turkey and urged the nation to put aside its reservations, insisting the Nordic neighbors had performed sufficient to fulfill Ankara’s issues.

Karl Ritter in Stockholm, Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark and Hogir Al Abdo in Raqqa, Syria contributed to this report.

Follow AP’s protection of NATO at https://apnews.com/hub/nato

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