Swedish PM and Turkey's Erdogan to meet over NATO accession

World Monday 10/July/2023 15:04 PM
By: DW
Swedish PM and Turkey's Erdogan to meet over NATO accession

Stockholm: Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson plans to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday in a last-ditch effort to bridge gaps over Stockholm's desire to join NATO.

Last month, Erdogan repeated frustrations with what he says is Sweden's failure to keep its promise to deal with suspected Kurdish militants allegedly "roaming the streets" of Stockholm. Erdogan says this is hindering Swedish hopes of joining NATO.

"Sweden has taken some steps in the right direction," Erdogan's office quoted the Turkish leader as telling US President Joe Biden in a telephone call on Sunday.

But Sweden's decision to allow pro-Kurdish groups to "hold demonstrations freely praising terrorism nullify those steps," Erdogan said.

Hungary also lukewarm to Sweden membership
Erdogan's stance is being supported by Kremlin-friendly Hungarian Prime Minister Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The two countries remain the only NATO members still standing in the way of the unanimous ratification needed for Sweden to become the 32nd member of the US-led bloc.

Hungary has strongly signaled it will follow Erdogan's lead and approve Sweden's membership should Turkey give its green light.

The talks between the leaders of Sweden and Turkey will occur on the eve of NATO's fourth summit to be held since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, comes as NATO tries to fend off any possible divisions, with analysts suggesting the Kremlin is using its ties with Turkey to create a rift among western allies.

The NATO summit looks set to be dominated by how the alliance will see its future relationship with Ukraine, amid repeated calls by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for Kyiv to become a member.