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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Turkey nothing to lose blocking Sweden’s NATO bid: Swedish analyst

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A senior Swedish defense analyst said Friday that Turkey has nothing to lose by vetoing Sweden’s NATO membership bid. Despite its disagreements with some NATO members, including Greece, France and the United States, Turkey, with NATO’s second-largest standing army, is an important NATO country, Aron Lund, a Middle East expert at the Swedish Defense Research Agency (ROI), told Swedish public broadcaster SVT. “Turkey, which has the second-largest military power of NATO and an important geostrategic position in the Black Sea, is one of the most important members of the alliance,” Lund noted. He said that even if there is a political will to fulfill Turkey’s requests for the extradition of terrorist group members, it will be difficult for the Swedish judiciary to follow through on any promises made to Turkey. Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO on Wednesday – a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began in February. But Turkey, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups. Turkey not to change its stance if Sweden maintains terrorist ties Turkey will “not change” its position on Sweden’s NATO membership application as long as the Nordic country has “ties with the PKK terrorist organization,” Turkey’s envoy to Stockholm said. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Hakki Emre Yunt said Swedish authorities do not accept that the YPG and PKK are the same group. 
Yunt said that Sweden claims that the YPG is not a terrorist organization because “they have been very useful in the fight with Daesh in Syria and in Iraq.” 
”So, they want to continue to help them by financial means and also by some military equipment. And we have been telling them to stop this relationship with the YPG, but they have rejected this so far and also with the PKK, which is also on the terror list of Sweden and the EU,” he added. In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is PKK’s Syrian offshoot. 
The Turkish ambassador said that Sweden has been “helping them and accommodating them.” 
”Some Swedish Parliament members have been supporting them,” he added. 
He said: “They have been pressuring the government to remove them (terrorist groups) from the terror list and to take a negative stance toward Turkey because of our fight with the PKK. 
”So we are not happy about these things.” 
Yunt said that Turkey has “some other concerns like the arms embargo against Turkey, not extraditing certain members of terrorist organizations like FETÖ (Gülenist Terror Group) and the PKK.” 
”So, these three issues are the main problems for Turkey and that’s why we took the decision to pull up their application to NATO,” he added. 
”When we fought against the YPG in Syria, we found some weapons, which were made in Sweden,” Yunt said. 
”Also, they (Sweden) are not hiding that they want to help them (the terror groups) financially. “(For) next year, they have already allocated some money to help them because they consider them as an ally in Syria, but we have been showing them pictures of YPG leaders together with some PKK leaders. 
”However, the Swedish authorities don’t want to accept that. We see a very awkward situation. Despite all the proof, they do not want to admit that these two groups are the same terrorist organization,” Yunt explained. He said Turkey will not change its position “as long as they keep this attitude.”

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