STOCKHOLM: Sweden has reauthorized exports of war materials to Turkey in an apparently significant concession to Ankara, which is threatening to block the Nordic country’s NATO membership.
Ankara requested the lifting of the restrictions — which were introduced in 2019 following a Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria — after Sweden applied to join NATO in mid-May.
“The government has made the assessment that a Swedish membership in NATO is the best way to protect Sweden’s and the Swedish people’s security,” the Inspectorate of Strategic Products said in a statement.
The government had already announced in June that Swedish membership of the military alliance could affect policy around military exports.
“Sweden’s application for NATO membership to a large degree strengthens the defense and security policy arguments for approving exports of war materials to other member states, including Turkey,” the authority said.
The ISP said it had approved exports relating to “electronic equipment,” “software” and “technical assistance” to Turkey in the third quarter of 2022.
To date, 28 of the 30 NATO member states have ratified the accession of Sweden and Finland. Only Hungary and Turkey remain. New members to the alliance require unanimous approval.
Turkey’s parliament is due to resume work on Saturday after the summer break. But the country is heading for parliamentary elections in June 2023 and this could make it cautious about voting on membership for the Nordic countries.
As of Friday, Ankara had not reacted to the Swedish announcement.