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Swedish foreign minister still hopeful Turkey will ratify NATO bid in October

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The Swedish foreign minister said on Friday he remained hopeful that Turkey will ratify Sweden’s planned NATO membership when the Turkish parliament reconvenes in October, as agreed with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at a summit of the alliance in July, Reuters reported.

“The Swedish government has not had any signals during the summer other than that the cards that were put down then are ones that are valid now in this question and that the statement given at Vilnius is still valid,” Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom told reporters after meeting with visiting members of the US Congress.

Sweden applied for NATO membership last year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and most alliance members quickly ratified its bid.

But Turkey has held out, citing worries over security cooperation.

After months of pressure, Erdoğan said after a NATO summit in Vilnius in July he would forward the ratification of Sweden’s NATO bid to parliament in October when it reconvenes after the summer break.

But there is no guarantee that Sweden will get the green light even then.

Billstrom said parliament was a sovereign institution but that the Turkish government had promised in Vilnius to ensure “the swift ratification” of Sweden’s accession by parliament.

“This, I think, speaks for itself,” Billstrom said. “It means that the government of Turkiye is committed to the ratification.”

Turkey has said wants more action over what it sees as militants living in Sweden, mainly members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and a group Ankara accuses of orchestrating a 2016 failed coup.

Tensions with Turkey have also been heightened by demonstrations in Sweden where protesters have burned copies of the Quran, enraging many Muslims.

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