NATO chief urges Sweden, Finland to expand cooperation in fight against terrorism

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg


21st November 2022 – (Stockholm) Sweden and Finland should tighten their terror legislation and increase cooperation with NATO, including Turkey, in order to fight terror and terror-labelled organisations such as the PKK, the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with Swedish public broadcaster SVT on Sunday.

“It is important for Turkey as Turkey is a NATO country that has been most exposed to terrorist attacks and is therefore concerned about it. It must be proportionate, but Turkey has the right to defend itself against terrorist attacks,” he told SVT.

According to the NATO chief, it is “normal” that the ratification of Sweden and Finland’s accession applications requires time. Stoltenberg said that 28 out of the 30 member countries had already given their green light to the two Nordic countries. “The abnormal thing this time is that it has gone so very quickly,” he remarked in the interview.

Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO on 18th May but Turkey immediately blocked their bids to get into the US-led bloc, demanding that the Nordic countries declare Kurdish organisations as terror groups, extradite individuals accused of terrorism or complicity in the 2016 failed coup attempt in the country and lift a ban on arms exports to Ankara.

On 28th June, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto, then-Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and NATO’s Stoltenberg. The parties signed a memorandum, paving the way for Stockholm and Helsinki to join the military alliance. As the Turkish leader said, Sweden pledged to extradite over 70 individuals complicit in terrorist activity.