Turkiye urges Sweden to give ‘concrete assurances’ for its NATO bid
Ankara stipulates conditions such as ending political, financial, arms support to PKK/PYD, lifting of arms embargoes, sanctions imposed against Turkiye
Turkiye's stance on the Swedish bid to join NATO is clear as Ankara, accusing Sweden of supporting terror groups, expects Stockholm to provide concrete assurances under the alliance's "collective security principle," according to an official statement on Monday.
Turkiye's Communications Directorate said on Twitter that such assurances would include the termination of political support to terrorism, eliminating the source of terrorism financing, cessation of arms support for the PKK terror group and its Syrian extension PYD, as well as the lifting of embargoes and sanctions against Ankara.
“Since 2017, our country has requested the extradition of PKK/PYD and FETO terrorists from Sweden but has yet to receive a positive response,” it said, adding that the Swedish authorities support terror groups' activities within the country and receive terror affiliates that Ankara has been fighting at the ministerial level.
The Swedish administration pledged to provide $376 million "in support to the PKK/PYD," which is a terrorist organization designated by 38 countries, including NATO and EU members, and targets "the national security of alliance member Turkiye," the statement also said.
As for the arms support for the terror group, it read: “The Swedish government provides military equipment, especially anti-tanks and drones, to the PKK/PYD.” It also noted that such weapons were used to target the civilian population in Turkiye.
The embargoes and sanctions imposed by Sweden on Turkiye were also highlighted in the statement, which called them "unacceptable," given Ankara's "legitimate efforts to defend international rights in the Eastern Mediterranean and secure its borders with Syria".
Although Turkiye adopts the “open-door” policy of the alliance, it believes that "the alliance members and candidate countries should cooperate at a high level" in fighting terrorism, just like they do in other fields, according to the statement.
The statement concluded, saying: “Sweden, which has applied for (NATO) membership, is expected to take principled steps and provide concrete assurances regarding Turkiye's security concerns."
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last week -- a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.
But Turkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people. The YPG/PYD is PKK's Syrian offshoot.