Swedish opposition calls for Turkey’s block on NATO talks to be ignored

The Turkish government has made a series of demands from Sweden, including cutting ties with YPG in Syria and extraditing 33 people allegedly linked to terrorist groups. [EPA-EFE/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE]

Sweden should not give in to Turkish pressure, Liberal People’s Party MP Allan Widman told news agency TT on Thursday, citing Turkey’s threat to block accession talks for Sweden and Finland.

Since Sweden and Finland announced their intention to join NATO, the Turkish authorities have made it clear they would stand in their way.

This is because the two countries have shown support to groups Turkey labels as terrorist organisations. These include Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Syrian-Kurdish YPG which is linked to PKK according to Turkey.

The Turkish government has made a series of demands from Sweden, including cutting ties with YPG in Syria and extraditing 33 people allegedly linked to terrorist groups.

Sweden’s Social Democrat government has so far not shown any willingness to give in to Turkey’s demands, a position the opposition supports

“Neither with regard to the export of defence equipment nor the view of the YPG,” Widman of the opposition Liberal People’s Party told TT, adding that “the US seems to be engaged at the highest level to get this issue resolved and I believe it will be resolved within weeks.”

Sweden has the same position as other NATO countries when it comes to an arms embargo and the Kurdish YPG.

“I don’t see that Sweden should back down on either of these two issues,” said Widman.

Mikael Oscarsson, the defence and foreign policy spokesman for the Christian Democrats (KD) concurred.

“It is clear that Turkey is seeking attention, but it is primarily America that is likely to be in charge of the negotiations with Turkey and can sort it out,” he said, adding that he does not see the need to make concessions.

Sweden pushed for an arms embargo against Turkey in October 2019, in connection with Turkey’s offensive in northern Syria, which the Riksdag’s EU committee unanimously backed.

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