According to a report by Al Jazeera, the United States has called on Turkey to approve Sweden’s NATO membership. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that it is the right time for Sweden to join the alliance and that the country has met the necessary criteria since the beginning. Blinken made these remarks during a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Lulea, Sweden.
Sweden and Finland initiated the process of seeking NATO membership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. NATO operates under the principle of collective defense, meaning an attack on one member is considered an attack on all. All NATO members must agree to allow new countries into the alliance. While Finland recently joined NATO, Sweden’s application is still pending. Hungary and Turkey have yet to ratify Sweden’s accession, with Turkey being seen as the main obstacle.Turkey has accused Sweden of providing shelter to members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it considers a terrorist group. This accusation has raised concerns and has become a point of contention in the process of approving Sweden’s NATO membership.
Turkey, Sweden, and Finland signed a so-called trilateral memorandum in June of last year to address Ankara’s concerns about banned armed organisations.
Turkey, on the other hand, claims that Sweden has not met all of its commitments under the agreement. An Islamophobic Quran-burning protest in Stockholm in January, which the government condemned, further soured relations between the two countries, as per Al Jazeera.