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Turkiye leaves door open to Sweden's NATO bid: Turkish presidential spokesperson

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) poses for a photo with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (L) before their meeting at the Foreign Ministry building in Ankara, Turkey [Fatih Aktaş - Anadolu Agency]
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) poses for a photo with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (L) before their meeting at the Foreign Ministry building in Ankara, Turkey [Fatih Aktaş - Anadolu Agency]

Turkiye's presidential spokesman said Saturday that Ankara has left the door open to Stockholm's bid to join NATO if it shows will and determination, Anadolu reports.

"The door is not closed to Stockholm now, but how the process will progress, its pace, and when it will be completed depends on Sweden's steps," Ibrahim Kalin said on Turkish television news channel NTV.

Sweden's new government is "sincere and diligent in this regard. But it does not have enough instruments to take legal action," to address Turkiye's security concerns, he said.

A constitutional amendment was made in Sweden last year and took effect in January, said Kalin, adding that a new counterterrorism law in this context will enter into force June 1.

"When they complete it in about two months, it will be possible for them to take more decisive, concrete, and fruitful steps to address our security concerns," he said.

The law will come into effect in June, said Kalin, adding that then "we'll see how fast they can move."

Sweden and Finland made an application together but Finland has taken "a constructive stance on both the structuring of the PKK and Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the lifting of restrictions in the field of the defense industry, and the inclusion of Turkiye in programs such as PESCO within the European Union," he said.

The Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO, is part of the EU's security and defense policy.

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Finland with its constructive attitude adopted a "more transparent and more fruitful stance" regarding Turkiye's demands, he added.

The Turkish parliament's Foreign Affairs Commission approved a bill Thursday to ratify Finland's NATO bid.

Meanwhile, asked about the sale of F-16 jets and modernization kits, Kalin underlined that the jets would strengthen not only Turkiye but NATO.

Regarding the Russia-Ukraine war, he said there is a "very strong pro-war climate in Washington, especially in the context of the Russia-Ukraine War. They want war, they want the war to be prolonged and unfortunately, the war will continue."

"It will continue to intensify. Of course, this is a great loss not only for Ukraine but also for the region and the world," he said.

Stressing the importance of the Turkiye's attempts to end the war and start negotiations, Kalin said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made many initiatives. Ankara has always displayed a principled and balanced attitude from the very beginning.

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Also, about the normalization of Ankara-Cairo relations, Kalin said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu's recent visit to Egypt was "very important and productive.

"We clearly believe that the normalization of Turkey-Egypt relations is of vital importance not only for the two countries but also for the dynamics of the region. It is also beneficial for Libya and Palestine. It is in the interest of the whole region in the fight against terrorism," he said.

Last June, Finland and Sweden signed a memorandum with Turkiye to address Ankara's security concerns, and senior diplomats and officials from the three countries have held various meetings since then to discuss the implementation of the trilateral agreement.

Among the NATO members states, only Hungary and Turkiye have not yet ratified Sweden and Finland's applications for inclusion in NATO.

Meanwhile, Sweden passed an anti-terror law last November, hoping that Ankara would approve Stockholm's bid to join the NATO alliance. The new law, which will go into force on June 1, will allow Swedish authorities to prosecute individuals who support terror organizations.

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