After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the Nordic neighbors abandoned their long-held policy of non-alignment and applied to join NATO.
Erdoğan – who is seeking re-election next year – is in a position of strength, having persuaded Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to stop blockading Ukraine’s grain exports.
After meeting Kristersson at the presidential palace in the Turkish capital, Erdoğan said a joint meeting would be organized in Stockholm later this month, without specifying the date.
The Turkish leader said he “sincerely wished” for Stockholm to join NATO, but added: “We understand their security concerns, and we want Sweden to respond to ours.” Kristersson described his meeting with Erdoğan as “very productive”.
“Sweden will live up to all the obligations made to Türkiye in countering the terrorist threat,” he said.
The Swedish parliament on Tuesday said it would vote next week on a constitutional amendment that would make it possible to strengthen anti-terror laws, a key demand from Türkiye.
The amendment will make it possible to introduce new laws to “limit freedom of association of groups involved in terrorism”, the parliament said in a statement, adding that the vote was scheduled for November 16.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Ankara last week to press the case for Sweden and Finland, saying their accession would “send a clear message to Russia”.
Stoltenberg stressed the two had agreed on concessions to Türkiye in June, which included addressing its request for “terror suspects” to be deported or extradited.
Writing in Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet on Monday, Erdoğan’s advisor Fahrettin Altun voiced “cautious optimism” that the new right-wing government in Stockholm would take “concrete measures” to meet Ankara’s concerns.
Ankara says it provided Sweden and Finland in June with a list of people it wanted extradited. Since then, Sweden has authorized one extradition for fraud. Both Stockholm and Helsinki say that extradition decisions are made by the courts.
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom told AFP in October he was convinced Sweden could satisfy Türkiye’s demands.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told journalists on Monday he expected joining NATO would “happen in reasonable time”.
Some analysts nevertheless believe Türkiye’s presidential and parliamentary elections in June 2023 could delay the Nordic bids.
Hurriyet Daily News