Sweden is prepared to “change” its anti-terrorism legislation to accommodate complaints from Turkey, the lone nation blocking Sweden’s entry into NATO.
Turkey objected to the addition of both Sweden and Finland to NATO last month, arguing the two countries’ support for Kurdish rebels in the Middle East constitutes support for terrorist organizations.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed Tuesday that Sweden “already started to change its counter-terrorism legislation,” and “will ensure that the legal framework for arms exports will reflect their future status as a NATO member with new commitments to allies.”
“These are two important steps to address the concerns that Turkey has raised,” Stoltenberg added. “The aim is to solve those issues as soon as possible, to be able to welcome Finland and Sweden as full members as soon as possible.”
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Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in May, a direct response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Both countries have traditionally remained neutral in European conflicts.
While Russia had previously warned against expanding NATO, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed the development in a statement last month.
“Finland and Sweden, as well as other neutral countries, have been participating in NATO military exercises for many years,” Lavrov said at the time.
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“NATO takes their territory into account when planning military advances to the East. So in this sense there is probably not much difference. Let’s see how their territory is used in practice in the North Atlantic alliance,” he added.