Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson still sees little progress regarding his country’s NATO accession and explains this with Turkey’s conditions. At a security and defense conference in Sälen, Sweden, the head of government declared that Ankara had demands that could not and would not be met.
The decision rests with Turkey. He remains convinced that they will agree to Sweden’s accession. “We just don’t know when.”
Finland: No accession without Sweden
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Sweden and Finland would join the alliance in 2023, but he could not give an exact date, “because at the end of the day it has to be a sovereign decision by Turkey and Hungary, two parliaments have not yet ratified . But I hope so and will continue to do my best to get both parliaments to sign.”
Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in May 2022 as part of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.
Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said at the conference that they would wait for Sweden. The NATO application was jointly submitted and the process will be completed jointly, Haavisto said. “Sweden is our best friend and partner. Nor would it be in Finland’s interest to join without Sweden.”
Only Turkey and Hungary have not yet ratified
NATO member Turkey is blocking the accession of the two Nordic countries, citing, among other things, Sweden’s alleged support of “terrorist organizations” such as the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK.
The country had made a number of demands as a condition for the ratification of the so-called accession protocols. Among other things, Turkey wants Stockholm to position itself more strongly against “terrorism”. Ankara is also demanding the extradition of dozens of people.
A few weeks ago, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the implementation of the agreements was “not halfway there.” NATO boss Stoltenberg, on the other hand, declared at the end of December that he did not expect Turkey to block the admission process for much longer. In addition to Turkey’s approval of NATO’s northern expansion, Hungary’s is still pending.