Sweden, which along with Finland has applied to become a NATO member, is set to allow arms exports to Turkey, following the embargo it imposed on Ankara in 2019 after Turkey’s military offensive into neighbouring Syria targeting Kurdish militants, Sözcü newspaper reported.
NATO member Turkey in May threatened to block the Nordic countries’ memberships, citing their harbouring of harbouring what Ankara says are fighters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey for over 40 years, and the arms embargo on Turkey.
Ankara in June lifted its veto over Sweden and Finland’s bids, but has reiterated its threat to block the countries’ memberships over their failures in meeting Turkey’s demands.
“Sweden’s application for membership in NATO greatly strengthens the defence and security policy reasons for granting the export of military equipment to other member states, including Turkey,” the Associated Press cited the Inspectorate for Strategic Products, a Swedish administrative authority, as saying in a statement.
Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids mark a monumental shift for the two nations following decades of wartime neutrality and staying out of military alliances.
Turkey's parliament has yet to ratify the Nordic countries memberships.
Ankara on Monday announced that a Swedish delegation was set to visit Turkey next week for talks on the extradition of individuals designated as terrorists by Ankara, T24 news site reported.