The Turkish parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee postponed discussions on Thursday on a law proposal to approve Sweden's NATO accession protocol.
The law proposal approving Finland's NATO accession protocol had previously been accepted, but the changing global security environment created a situation that needed to be addressed first, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Burak Akçapar said, adding that there is a profound period of change and transformation at the international level, which compelled the committee to suspend discussions on the issue.
Pointing out that the security of the Baltic and Northern geographies has become even more crucial for the NATO alliance after the Russia-Ukraine war, Akçapar said, "Sweden, one of the strategically important countries in this region, has decided to join NATO after the start of the war, abandoning its policy of neutrality in defense and security.
"We have emphasized from the beginning of the process that Sweden, as our prospective ally, should consider our country's legitimate security concerns and act in the spirit of the alliance."
He said Sweden and Finland have committed to preventing the financing and recruitment activities of the PKK terrorist organization, not providing support to FETÖ and PKK/PYD, taking legal steps in the fight against terrorism, and lifting restrictions on extradition and deportation processes and defense industry.
He mentioned that a permanent joint mechanism has been established among the three countries for the follow-up of the steps taken, saying, "Looking at the transformation and steps taken by Sweden during this process, the Swedish government and public have begun to better understand our country's legitimate security concerns. In this process, both at the government and public levels, shortcomings have been questioned, and the era of self-criticism has begun."
Akçapar said they saw this transformation through statements made by Swedish government officials, which indicate a paradigm shift in policy.
Pointing out that Stockholm pledged to adhere to its commitments Akçapar said "The Swedish government implemented changes in legislation within the scope of the fight against terrorism. In this context, a constitutional amendment was enacted to penalize joining a terrorist organization.
"Joining a terrorist organization was criminalized for the first time in Sweden. Sweden took concrete steps to combat terrorism, including the activities and financing of the PKK."
The PKK-affiliated circles can no longer find a safe haven in Sweden, as they once did, he said.
He said Sweden has prepared a draft roadmap as part of bilateral contacts and had informed Türkiye about it.
Sweden would present to Türkiye that roadmap outlining its responsibilities and the steps it would take throughout the process, he added. Akçapar said terrorist organizations are active in opposing Sweden's NATO membership because they believe it will increase cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
"We believe that Sweden's accession to NATO will make the European Atlantic region safer, contribute to the further development of our bilateral relations on the basis of alliance ties and responsibilities, and especially contribute to the development of cooperation in the defense industry."
Following deliberation, the committee decided that "due to the failure (by the Swedish government) to clarify the subject under discussion, the proposal should not proceed to its articles and should be terminated."