Erdogan, Stoltenberg to discuss Sweden's NATO membership

    REGION  04 June 2023 - 14:00

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will receive NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Istanbul on June 4. 

    It is expected that their meeting will be held in the working office of the President of Dolmabahce in a closed mode for the media. The parties will mainly discuss the process of Sweden's accession to NATO, TASS reports, citing the Turkish presidential office.

    Earlier, some NATO foreign ministers expressed optimism that now the election was over, Ankara would lift its objections to Stockholm's bid to join the military alliance. Türkiye ratified Finland's NATO accession in March but says Sweden harbours members of militant groups it considers terrorists, according to Reuters.

    "Now that Turkish elections are over, it is important that Türkiye goes on with the ratification process," said Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.

    Sweden had on June 1 implemented new terrorism legislation, thus addressing a key Turkish concern.

    "Sweden has delivered," Stoltenberg said earlier. "The time has come to ratify Sweden(its membership) and I am working hard so that it happens as soon as possible."

    Several foreign ministers expressed confidence Sweden could become a member before or at a NATO summit in July in Vilnius, Lithuania.

    "We're continuing to work to complete the accession process for Sweden ... and we fully anticipate doing so by the time the leaders meet in Vilnius," said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

    Summit host Lithuania was similarly upbeat. "There is a very high expectation that the Swedish flag will be raised (in Vilnius)," said its foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis.

    Sweden, invited to Oslo, stressed again it had fulfilled all the conditions set to become a member of the military alliance.

    "We have fulfilled all our commitments," Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom told reporters. "It is time for Türkiye and Hungary to start the ratification of Swedish membership to NATO."

    [Former] Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, in a tweet replying to his Swedish counterpart, said Stockholm should fulfil its anti-terrorism commitments as part of the agreement.

    "A crystal clear message to our Swedish Friends! Fulfil your commitments... and take concrete steps in the fight against terrorism. The rest will follow," Cavusoglu said.

    Caliber.Az

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