Sweden says Turkey asking too much over NATO application

STOCKHOLM, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Sweden is confident that Turkey will approve its application to join the NATO military alliance, but will not meet 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

At a news conference later on Sunday, Kristersson said the demands that Sweden could not or did not want to fulfil were outside the scope of the three-way memorandum.

“From time to time, Turkey mentions individuals that they want to see extradited from Sweden. To that I have said that those issues are handled within Swedish law,” he said.

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.

Reporting by Johan Ahlander and Simon Johnson; editing by Barbara Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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