Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristerrson is set to visit Turkey on Tuesday to discuss Sweden’s accession bid, shortly after the NATO chief’s visit to Ankara to negotiate Sweden’s request to join the alliance, reported Sveriges Radio.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Turkey between 3 and 5 November in an attempt to finalise Finland and Sweden’s NATO accession bids, which they launched after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
Turkey has proved to be a difficult obstacle for the Scandinavian countries, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan demanding the extradition of Kurdish activists and exiles whom he accuses of terror links before he signs off on the two accession bids.
Ulf Kristerrson, the newly elected Prime Minister of Sweden, will begin his visit to Turkey on 8 November, soon after the Swedish government announced its decision to distance itself from Kurdish fighters in northern Syria in an effort to address Turkish concerns.
Bloomberg reported that Ankara is unlikely to sign off on Sweden’s bid for NATO membership before the Turkish national elections, which are due next year.
On the other hand, Tobias Billström, the Swedish Foreign Minister, said that “NATO talks with Turkey have been going better than those of the previous Social Democrat government”, Artı Gerçek reported.
Sweden has detailed concrete actions it will take to address Turkey’s demands for the Sweden’s NATO bid, including stepping up efforts against Kurds whom Ankara claims are linked to terror groups, Reuters reported on Friday, citing an exclusive letter from Stockholm to Ankara dated 6 October.
After Turkey’s initial rejection of the Swedish and Finnish accession requests, the three countries held a meeting on the sidelines of the June NATO summit in Madrid to negotiate the membership.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced on 29 June that an agreement had been reached “that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO”, though Turkey is still proving reluctant to finalise the accession bids.