14.8 C
Frankfurt am Main

Top Turkish, Swedish officials meet in Brussels to unblock Stockholm’s NATO bid

Must read

Senior Turkish and Swedish officials met at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday to try and unblock Ankara’s opposition to Stockholm’s membership bid before a summit of alliance leaders next week, Agence France-Presse reported.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan is joined at the meetings by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief adviser Akif Cağatay Kılıç, Deputy Foreign Minister Burak Akçapar and the intelligence chief, İbrahim Kalın, according to a statement from the Turkish foreign ministry.

The ministry said the participants in Thursday’s talks would review the steps Finland and Sweden took, especially in the context of fighting terrorism, since the last meeting, which was held in Ankara on June 14.

NATO allies are pressuring Ankara to give way after a year of delay and let the Scandinavian nation in by the time the gathering in Lithuania starts on Tuesday.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg convened the last-ditch negotiations — which also include intelligence and security officials — in the hope they could pave the way for a breakthrough.

But diplomats at NATO were doubtful there will be any sign of a U-turn from Turkish President Erdoğan.

Turkey and Sweden inked a deal last year aimed at clearing the path to accession.

Ankara demanded a Swedish crackdown on Kurdish movements, such as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it says is a terrorist group, and some political dissidents regarded as “terrorists” by Ankara.

Sweden says it has fulfilled the deal. On Thursday it jailed a Turkish citizen for “attempted terrorist financing” for the PKK under new legislation.

But Erdoğan has continued to criticize Stockholm, and a protest last week that saw pages of the Quran burnt further stoked his anger.

US President Joe Biden is expected to make a strong push for Sweden in the coming days.

Biden told Sweden’s prime minister at a meeting in Washington on Wednesday that he was “anxiously looking forward” to the country joining.

Sweden and its neighbor Finland dropped decades of military non-alignment and applied to join NATO in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Finland formally joined the bloc in April.

Hungary is also still holding out on Sweden’s membership, which requires the unanimous approval of all 31 NATO members.

But Budapest has indicated it will give way if Turkey agrees.

Liked it? Take a second to support Turkish Minute on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!
More News
Latest News