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Sweden says Turkey is asking too much over NATO application


Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson speaks during a joint statement with French President Emmanuel Macron before a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, January 3, 2023. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Sweden is confident that Turkey will approve its application to join the NATO military alliance, but cannot fulfil all the conditions Ankara has set for its support, Sweden’s prime minister said on Sunday.

“Turkey both confirms that we have done what we said we would do, but they also say that they want things that we cannot or do not want to give them,” Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told a defence think-tank conference in Sweden.

Finland and Sweden signed a three-way agreement with Turkey in 2022 aimed at overcoming Ankara’s objections to their membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

They applied in May to join NATO in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but Turkey objected and accused the countries of harbouring militants, including from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party

One sticking point has been extraditions of people Turkey regards as terrorists. Ankara expressed disappointment with a decision late last year from Sweden’s top court to stop a request to extradite a journalist with alleged links to Islamic scholar Fetullah Gulen, blamed by Turkey for an attempted coup.