Sweden’s new PM looking forward to visit Turkey
Sweden's new Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Wednesday spoke by phone with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, as the Nordic country struggles to overcome Ankara's blocking of its NATO application.
Kristersson described the call as "constructive", in a post on Twitter and said he was "looking forward to visit Ankara soon," without providing any details.
Erdogan meanwhile said he would be "happy to welcome Kristersson in Ankara", according to a statement from the Turkish presidency.
Turkey "stands ready to advance the bilateral relations with the Swedish government in all areas", it added in English.
NATO accession is a priority for Sweden's new right-wing government.
Sweden and Finland, which have a long history of neutrality in military conflicts, officially applied for NATO membership in May, after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 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.
Swedish government to fulfill the "trilateral memorandum"
On Wednesday, Kristersson also reiterated that his government would fulfill the "trilateral memorandum," between Sweden, Finland and Turkey.
Erdogan had swiftly agreed to receive him, but warned that the Turkish parliament would not ratify the two Nordic countries' accession to NATO unless they honoured its extradition demands.
"President Erdogan stressed that it would be of common benefit to prevent Sweden's bilateral relations with (Turkey) and its membership to NATO from being taken hostage by terrorist organisations," the presidency said.
28 of the 30 NATO member states have already ratified the accession of Sweden and Finland. Hungary is also expected to pass its approval in its parliament in December.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday also announced that he would go to Turkey "in the near future" to discuss Finland and Sweden's pending applications.