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Sweden must do its part on terrorism for NATO bid: Turkish president

If Türkiye is expected to respond to Stockholm's expectations of accession to NATO, Stockholm must also do its part on the terrorist group PKK ahead of next month’s NATO summit, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"The NATO summit will be held in Vilnius. Hopefully, unless something extraordinary happens, I will attend," Erdogan told reporters Tuesday, ahead of a meeting of a joint mechanism of Türkiye, Sweden, and Finland set for Wednesday in the Turkish capital Ankara.

"The expectations of Sweden do not mean that we will comply with these expectations. In order for us to comply with these expectations, first of all, Sweden must do its part,” he said on the presidential plane, returning from foreign visits.

In a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Istanbul in early June, he related, he had told the alliance chief, “If you expect us to respond to Sweden's expectations, first of all, Sweden must erase what this terrorist organization has done. While we were expressing these to Stoltenberg, at that time, unfortunately, terrorists were demonstrating in the streets again in Sweden,” referring to the PKK, which has taken some 40,000 lives in its decades-long terror campaign in Türkiye.

Erdogan also called on Stockholm to use Swedish police to prevent PKK terrorists from operating in the country.

"What do the police do? The job of the police force is to stop them. ...There are already rights given to the police force in laws and constitutions. Use these rights. (But maybe) you will not use these rights, then tell us: 'Come and accept Sweden into NATO.'

"Where is NATO's counter-terrorism leg? NATO has to deal with this once. After having not dealt with this, we cannot treat them (Sweden) as the blue-eyed boy in Vilnius," Erdogan said.

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