New Swedish premier ready to visit Turkey to unblock NATO membership
Sweden's new Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said he was ready to head to Ankara to call on Turkey to back his country’s and Finland's joining NATO.
"I have already sent a signal to the Turkish government that we are prepared to go to Ankara immediately," Kristersson said during a EU leaders summit in Brussels on Thursday, three days after taking the office, New Arab reported.
Kristersson said he was aiming to show Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Sweden and Finland “actually do” what they have promised to fulfil a deal reached with Ankara.
Sweden and Finland that have a long history of neutrality in military conflicts, officially applied for NATO membership in May, following Russia’s launching an invasion of Ukraine on Feb.24. While the vast majority of NATO members welcomed Sweden’s and Finland’s bids, Turkey, the second largest army in the alliance, opposed the two countries’ memberships, citing their failure to combat threats to Turkey’s security.
After Sweden and Finland promised to address Ankara’s pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects, Turkey dropped its objections against Sweden and Finland’s membership applications, allowing the military organization to formally invite the two countries for membership at a Madrid summit in June. But the final approval of their memberships depends on the current member states’ parliaments. The NATO accession protocols for Sweden and Finland need to be ratified by the parliaments of all 30 members, where Ankara says it will not approve the documents if Stockholm and Helsinki fail to fulfil their commitments, regarding Turkey’s extradition requests.
"I will do that as soon as it is suitable for them as well of course, so I'm very prepared for that," Kristersson said.
Twenty-eight of 30 NATO member states by now have given the necessary official approval for Sweden and Finland’s joining the transatlantic alliance.
Turkey and Hungary remain on the list that have not yet ratified the accession protocols.