Sweden and Finland want to join NATO. Turkey is still blocking it. But positive signals are coming from Ankara.
- NATO expansion: Sweden and Finland are negotiating with Turkey about joining NATO
- Ankara makes demands: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is demanding concessions
- NATO accession: All news about the negotiations for Sweden and Finland to join NATO in our newsticker
Update from Tuesday, November 29, 09:05: There is still no breakthrough in the negotiations for Sweden and Finland to join NATO. Voices are now coming from Sweden criticizing the behavior of the kingdom in the talks. A journalist draws this picture. “Kristersson (Swedish Prime Minister) must stop being humiliated by Turkey,” wrote columnist Alex Schulman in an opinion piece published in Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter. According to the columnist, Turkey has humiliated Sweden.
Turkey is said to have tried to invade Kurdish cities
+++ 5.30 p.m.: According to Kurdish forces in north-eastern Syria, Turkey has tried several times in the past few days to invade Kurdish towns and villages with ground troops. At least 12 Turkish soldiers and 8 mercenaries were killed in the fighting, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in Syria. The Kurds await further attempts by the Turkish army to occupy cities such as Manbij and Kobane.
A commander of the Kurdish women’s self-defence units YPJ in Syria is hoping for help from the USA in the face of the attacks by Turkey. “If the US wants, it can quickly stop Turkey, but Washington is pursuing its own advantages. It’s not a big surprise to us,” Gen. Nesrin Abdolah said Fr.de von IPPEN.MEDIA.
NATO does not believe that Sweden and Finland will join soon
+++ 1 p.m.: Despite positive signals from Turkey: Nato apparently does not believe in rapid ratification of the accession of Sweden and Finland. No solution is expected before Christmas, reports the Norwegian news agency NTB, citing a “central” source in NATO.
According to the information, there is a dispute over extradition requests from Turkey. It is more about procedural issues than the number of extraditions. Turkey had presented a list of specific people to Sweden in particular. The case of exiled journalist Bülent Kenes was recently discussed in public. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mentioned Kenes by name after a meeting with Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and branded him a “terrorist”.
There are signs that point to an agreement “over the course of the next six months,” NTB reported. There is hope within NATO that Turkey can ratify Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO membership before the Turkish presidential elections in June. However, it will not be perceived as a crisis if it takes a little longer. In addition to Turkey, Hungary has not yet agreed to the two countries joining NATO – possibly for tactical reasons in a smoldering dispute with the EU.
NATO accession: Turkey acknowledges Sweden’s great “progress”
First report: STOCKHOLM – Turkey reports progress in the process of joining Sweden and Finland in NATO. This was announced by government representatives of Turkey after a joint meeting. “Sweden has fully respected the trilateral memorandum and is getting closer to NATO,” said Swedish negotiator Oscar Stenstrom after the meeting in Stockholm.
“We have shared a number of ideas with the police and their counterparts in Turkey to speed up the fight against the PKK’s terrorist threat to Turkey,” Stenstrom told a local radio station after the Nov. 25 meeting.
Ankara continues to demand concessions
Ankara is blocking the accession of both states to the western defense alliance and is demanding concessions. Among other things, it accuses both countries of supporting terrorist organizations. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also demanding the extradition of several “terrorists” from Turkey who have found refuge in the countries as political refugees, including several journalists, Kurdish activists and teachers.
Just recently, Sweden amended its anti-terrorist law with promises that it will strengthen law enforcement agencies in fighting terrorist organizations. The law will come into force on January 1st. A corresponding amendment to the constitution was passed by the Swedish parliament in mid-November. While acknowledging that Sweden and Finland have taken some positive steps, the AKP government expects the new law to be implemented in Sweden in the first quarter of 2023.
Sweden halts humanitarian aid projects in northern Syria
Sweden has already stopped its aid projects in northern Syria, says Kamal Sido, the Middle East consultant at the Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV), in an interview with Fr.de from IPPEN.MEDIA. “Sweden has halted humanitarian projects in northern Syria. These include, for example, water treatment plants”. These projects were discontinued under pressure from Turkey. Turkey accuses the self-government in northeast Syria of being terrorist. Sido also fears that the pressure on opposition members who have fled in the country could increase, for example, where their freedom of expression is restricted. (Erkan Pehlivan)