Sweden to distance itself from YPG in bid to join NATO
Sweden's Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said his country will distance itself from the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria as it tries to win Turkey's approval to join NATO.
"There is too close a connection between these organizations and the PKK ... for it to be good for the relationship between us and Turkey," Billstrom told public service broadcaster Swedish Radio.
The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and its political branch PYD are considered by Turkey extensions of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which launched an insurgency against Turkey in 1980 and is regarded as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
"The primary objective is Sweden's membership in NATO," top Swedish diplomat said.
The move comes just days before Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s visit to Ankara to try to convince Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan to let Sweden join the military alliance.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed by Sweden’s previous left-leaning government at a NATO summit in June, Sweden and Finland had also committed to lift arms embargoes on Turkey imposed after its incursion in northern Syria in 2019 and extradite several individuals whom Turkey deems terrorists.