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Finland and Sweden set to join NATO after Turkey drops objection

Finland, Sweden and Turkey have signed a joint memorandum at the NATO summit in Madrid, which addresses Turkey's concern about the nordic nation's support for Kurdish organisations and thus paves the way for the country's formal invitation to the military alliance. 

Turkey had previously stated that they would veto any invitation to both countries to join NATO, if they did not address "security concerns" and proscribe and clamp down on Kurdish organisations within their respective country. 

Finland and Sweden agreed to the demands put forward by Turkey, which include that,

Sweden and Finland would lift their arms embargo against Turkey; Confirm that the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) is a proscribed organisation and "would not provide support" to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and People's Protection Units (YPG), the latter of which has been instrumental in the fight against ISIS in Syria. The Nordic countries have also agreed to share intel with Turkey and agreed to an extradition policy to extradite "terror suspects" to Turkey, of which there is a list of at least 70 linked with Kurdish organisations. 

Political adversaries of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan based in Sweden were quick to label the deal as a sellout, which could strengthen Turkey’s efforts to secure extraditions of Kurdish rights activists and other opponents.

“This is a black day in Swedish political history,” said Amineh Kakabaveh, an independent Swedish lawmaker and longtime advocate for Kurdish rights. “We are negotiating with a regime which does not respect freedom of expression or the rights of minority groups,” Kakabaveh, a former fighter with Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iran, told the SVT Nyheter television channel, the Politico reports.

Kurdo Baksi, a prominent Sweden-based Kurdish writer, told Swedish TV he was worried that Sweden and Finland might have promised to extradite Kurds and other democratically minded Turks who have sought refuge in the two countries back to Turkey. the Politico reports.

“I hope that Sweden will enter NATO with the same view of democracy and human rights as it had before (Foreign Minister) Ann Linde and (Prime Minister) Magdalena Andersson traveled to the NATO meeting in Madrid,” he said.

In an interview with Sweden’s national broadcaster on Wednesday, Prime Minister Andersson sought to play down the implications of Swedish and Finnish commitments to Turkey. 

“I know there are people who are worried that we are going to start hunting them and deporting them and I think it is important to say that we always work in accordance with Swedish law and existing international conventions,” she said. “If you are not involved in terrorism, you don’t need to worry,” she added."

Read more at the New York Times and Politco 

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