Turkey’s Erdogan to meet Swedish Prime Minister Kristersson to discuss extraditions and NATO bid

Sweden and Finland, another Nordic country, launched their candidacy to join NATO in May in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but faced objections from Turkey.

Ankara accuses them of harboring people it considers terrorists, namely Kurdish militants and people accused of taking part in a coup attempt in 2016.

Erdogan said Kristersson, who took office on Monday, sided with the fight against terrorism, Turkish broadcaster NTV reported.

“He has statements such as ‘we should not harbor terrorism and terrorists,'” Erdogan said. “Of course, we will have tested their sincerity on this matter at the meeting we will hold.”

Erdogan made his comments to Turkish media on a flight home from a trip to Azerbaijan on Thursday.

Speaking in Helsinki on Friday after a meeting with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom welcomed the talks.

“In time, we believe that everything will lead to the ratification by and by the Turkish parliament of Finland’s and Sweden’s application for NATO membership,” Billstrom told reporters.

He said that the new Swedish government would continue to implement the trilateral agreement reached in Madrid to facilitate the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO.

“Among other things, the fight against terrorism will be a priority for Sweden before and after our NATO membership,” he said.

Erdogan has said that the Turkish parliament will not approve Nordic countries’ NATO applications if they do not extradite those requested by Ankara.

Sweden has taken “concrete steps” to address Turkey’s concerns over its NATO bid, Stockholm told Ankara in a letter dated October 6 and seen by Reuters.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Simon Johnson, Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen and Angus MacSwan)

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