Sweden takes Türkiye’s terrorism-related concerns seriously: Foreign minister

Sweden takes Türkiye’s concerns on terrorism seriously, the Swedish foreign minister told local media on Monday. 

Speaking to state television, Ann Linde said negotiations on Stockholm's NATO bid continue with Ankara.

Sweden, along with Finland, formally applied to join NATO last month, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.

But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting the terrorist groups.

Linde said she expects negotiations at the NATO summit in Madrid to be positive. “We think differently on some matters just like in an ordinary negotiation.

“Despite this, we can find a common ground by respecting each other’s opinions,” she said, adding that Sweden takes Türkiye’s terrorism-related concerns seriously.

Stockholm and Ankara share the same point of view on the PKK terrorist organization, Linde said, arguing that she believes Türkiye also recognizes how serious Sweden is on the terrorism issue.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU –​​​​​​​ has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people.

Claiming that Sweden is one of the countries in the world that has strict regulations on arms exports, she said: “The decision would be made accordingly if we enter a military alliance with Türkiye, where we can defend each other.”

“There are opportunities for us to take concrete steps forward.”

NATO leaders are set to meet in Madrid from Tuesday to Thursday, with talks expected to center on response to the war in Ukraine, and the Finnish and Swedish petitions to join the 30-member military alliance./aa