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Sweden hails historic step as Turkey backs Nato bid Published 23 hours ago

over Sweden, which has fought tenaciously over the past year to join NATO, this is a momentous occasion.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Nordic nation, which has historically supported neutrality in times of conflict for more than 200 years, submitted an application to join last May as part of efforts to increase security and stability in northern Europe.

However, Turkey had been preventing Sweden's application up until late Monday night.

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey views as a terrorist organization, was one of the rebel factions that Sweden, according to Turkey, was protecting. The PKK has also been labeled a terrorist organization by the EU and the US.

Turkey has the authority to prevent new countries from joining NATO, just like any of the other 31 Nato members do.

Ulf Kristersson, the right-wing prime minister of Sweden, is viewed as having significantly won as a result of crucial negotiations with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Although Mr. Kristersson's Social Democrat predecessor, Magdalena Andersson, submitted Sweden's initial application to join Nato, he has made securing membership a top foreign policy objective since assuming office in October.

According to him, his staff "worked very hard" to answer Turkey's concerns about terrorism, and after being given the opportunity to demonstrate their efforts, a deal was achieved. He made this statement to Sweden's public television network SVT.

"I think we got a chance to also present and show what we have been doing for a long time, and that it is also bearing fruit," the man said. "And I believe that overall, with good assistance from the efforts of other nations, we got it together."

In June, Sweden passed stricter anti-terrorism legislation that makes it against the law to assist terrorist organizations financially or logistically.

That law saw its first application at the end of last week when a Swedish court sentenced a Kurdish man to prison for offenses including attempting to finance terrorism and informed him he would be deported afterward.

Swedish exports of weapons to Turkey have also resumed.

The prime minister told SVT, "We have taken seriously their very legitimate demand that every country that joins the alliance should contribute to additional security."

On Swedish public radio, Mr. Kristersson acknowledged having a quick celebration beer "with the whole gang" in a conference room following the negotiations after being seen beaming in Vilnius on Monday.

Why is Sweden joining NATO, and what is NATO?
Who are the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)?
Turkey also benefits greatly from this.

Sweden has pledged to aggressively support Turkey's attempts to join the European Union and "step up economic co-operation" in addition to having Ankara's security concerns addressed.

There are still many unanswered issues regarding the promises that might have been provided behind closed doors, but the entire process has given President Erdogan a significant platform on the international political scene.

Turkey no longer opposes Sweden joining NATO, and as a result, the US has agreed to new negotiations about Turkey's purchase of F-16 fighter fighters.

Some analysts argue that Sweden may have been used as a negotiating chip in a much larger game being played by the Turkish leader, including Wolfgang Hansson, a commentator for Sweden's largest tabloid Aftonbladet.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, popular support for Sweden's application to the NATO organization increased significantly, and the topic has remained high on the people's priority list for the past year.

"Media coverage of all the twists and turns has been intense, so many people have followed this closely, trying to interpret Erdogan's every new move," says Paul Levin, head of the Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies, who has closely followed the developments.

However, not everyone will be in favor of Sweden's participation, which is now becoming more likely.

38% of Swedes are still opposed to or uncertain about Sweden joining NATO, according to a study conducted in May by pollster Novus.

After serving as an international mediator for many years, several critics have questioned Sweden's ideological turn, raising concerns about how it may harm the nation's reputation abroad. Concerns exist on the outcome of negotiations with Turkey, a country with a dubious human rights record.

However, for those who support NATO, Sweden's membership is crucial because it will give the nation more security assurances amid a tumultuous time in European politics.

In the meanwhile, Sweden's participation in NATO will provide more resources.

Despite having a small military, it has recently increased defense spending and reinstated conscription, with a goal of increasing its military budget to 2% of Sweden's GDP by 2026.


Daniel Jack

For Daniel, journalism is a way of life. He lives and breathes art and anything even remotely related to it. Politics, Cinema, books, music, fashion are a part of his lifestyle.