Ankara to host key meeting for Sweden’s NATO bid

Ankara to host key meeting for Sweden’s NATO bid

Baku TurkicWorld

The officials from Türkiye, Sweden, Finland and NATO will come together in Ankara on June 14 to elaborate to what extent Sweden has fulfilled its commitments in the fight against terror specified in a trilateral agreement signed last year, TurkicWorld reports citing Hürriyet Daily News.

According to a statement by the Communication Directorate, the Joint Permanent Mechanism will hold its fourth meeting in the Turkish capital around a month before the NATO leaders convene in a crucial summit in Vilnius.

Sweden and Finland had applied to enter the alliance after the Russian occupation of Ukraine in 2022. Türkiye ratified the latter’s application after Finland complied with the items of the trilateral agreement between Türkiye, Sweden and Finland that obliges the two Nordic states to intensify the fight against the PKK terrorism.

Sweden, however, has yet to take concrete steps against terror, Ankara says, underlining it wants to see the implementation of a new anti-terror law by the Swedish authorities. The mechanism will help to assess all these points.

The statement from the Communication Directorate informs that the meeting will be hosted by Ambassador Akif Çağatay Kılıç, the chief foreign policy advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The NATO team will be led by Cabinet Chief of NATO Secretary General Stian Jenssen, Sweden by State Secretary Ambassador Jan Knutsson and Finland by Permanent State Secretary Jukka Salovaara.

The meeting will be crucial as its outcome will give a strong signal as to whether Türkiye will approve Sweden’s application to join the alliance before the NATO leaders’ summit that will take place on July 11 and 12 in Lithuania.

Along with Türkiye, Hungary is also yet to ratify Sweden’s bid.

Sweden hopeful for NATO

Before the meeting, Sweden Foreign Minister Tobias Billström stressed that Sweden’s new anti-terror law will facilitate cooperation with Türkiye as well as other NATO and EU countries in the field of fight against terrorism.

At a press conference with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau in Warsaw, Billström said his country has already completed its preparations for the alliance, adding “Sweden is ready to be an active and loyal ally from day one and contribute to the security of all allies.”

“We are ready to contribute to the strengthened presence of NATO in the Baltic Sea region, air patrols, and other collaborations for national security, and we condemn all terrorist organizations, including the PKK, which carry out attacks,” he underlined.

The new anti-terror law, effective as of June 1, paves the way for tougher measures against terrorism, terrorist propaganda and financing terror activities.

Sweden to extradite self-proclaimed PKK supporter to Türkiye

In the meantime, Sweden agreed to extradite a man convicted of drug trafficking who also supported the PKK to Türkiye, reported the AFP. The Swedish government has decided to “grant an extradition from Sweden regarding a 35-year-old Turkish citizen,” Justice Ministry official Ashraf Ahmed told AFP.

The decision comes after the Supreme Court in May cleared his repatriation to Türkiye, where he is expected to serve out a drug trafficking sentence. The man, whose extradition was cleared, was sentenced in 2014 to four years and seven months in a Turkish prison for transporting a bag containing cannabis, according to the Swedish Supreme Court ruling.

He was released on parole and moved to Sweden but was arrested in August last year following a request from Turkish prosecutors.