Erdogan to Meet New Swedish PM Kristersson to Discuss NATO Bid

Last Updated: October 21, 2022, 15:28 IST

Erdogan was against Sweden and Finland joining NATO because of their support to certain Kurdish groups who are posed against Turkey (Image: Reuters)

The new right-wing government in Sweden has been critical of Muslims living in Sweden and it is unclear if that will factor in discussions

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accepted a request from Sweden’s new prime minister to visit Turkey for talks aimed at overcoming Ankara’s objections to Stockholm and Helsinki’s bids to join NATO, local media reported on Friday.

“Sweden’s new prime minister requested an appointment. I told our friends to ‘give an appointment.’… We will discuss these issues with him in our country,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by private NTV television on his plane back from Azerbaijan.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Thursday he was ready to head to Ankara to urge Turkey to back bids by his country’s bid to join the alliance.

Sweden and Finland earlier this year tore up their long-standing policies of non-alignment in the face of Russia’s war on Ukraine and launched their bids to join the US-led military alliance.

The move has received strong backing from the vast majority of the alliance’s members but Erdogan has stalled the process over accusations the Nordic neighbours are havens for Kurdish militants hostile to Ankara.

Kristersson said he aimed to show the Turkish leader that Sweden and Finland “actually do what we promised” to fulfil a deal with Ankara to clear their path into NATO.

Erdogan said Ankara’s position remained unchanged, calling on Sweden and Finland to deliver “these terrorists” sought by Turkish authorities.

“Unless they are sent back to us, things will not work at the parliamentary stage,” he threatened.

Erdogan has accused both countries of being havens for Kurdish militants, specifically highlighting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and for promoting “terrorism”.

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