Sweden lists 'concrete action' taken to allay Turkey's Nato concerns

Nato members hold veto power over admission of new countries to alliance

From left, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in Madrid, Spain. Reuters
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Sweden has listed the “concrete action” it has taken to address Turkey's concerns over its Nato membership in a recent letter to Ankara.

The letter, seen by Reuters, lists 14 examples of Swedish action intended to show it “is fully committed to the implementation” of a pre-membership deal with Turkey.

Sweden and Finland both applied to join the Nato defence alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but admission depends on unanimous agreement, and Turkey has raised concerns.

Turkey accuses the two Nordic countries of harbouring what it says are militants from the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

“Sweden is committed to address … pending extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly”, taking into account Turkish intelligence and in accordance with Swedish law and the European Convention on Extradition, the letter said.

Sweden and Finland signed an agreement with Turkey in June, which resulted in it lifting it’s veto of their Nato applications.

In its letter to Turkey, Sweden said that “concrete action has been taken on all core elements of the trilateral agreement”.

Sweden's security and counter-terrorism police, Sapo, “has intensified its work”, and agency representatives made “a high-level visit” to Turkey in September for meetings with Turkey's MIT intelligence service, the letter said.

The letter was meant to reassure Turkey of Sweden's efforts amid bilateral talks and to encourage the ultimate approval of its Nato membership bid, a source told Reuters.

The letter says Stockholm extradited one Turkish citizen on Ankara's request, and that a total of four extraditions have been made to Turkey since 2019.

Extraditions were discussed by a Swedish delegation visiting Ankara in early October, the letter said.

Turkey will continue consultations with Sweden and Finland “to pursue full implementation of the memorandum”, Turkish diplomatic sources said.

The parliaments of all 30 Nato member states must approve Sweden and Finland's bids, which would mark a historic enlargement of the alliance as the war in Ukraine continues.

In a sign that talks were progressing, Sweden's foreign minister said on Friday he expects the last two holdouts, Turkey and Hungary, to vote soon.

Sweden's foreign ministry and the communications arm of Erdogan's office each did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.

Updated: October 21, 2022, 9:36 PM