Ankara, Oct 27 (UiTV/IANS) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would be pleased to host new Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Turkey during a phone talk between the two leaders, after months of tension with the Nordic country over its NATO bid.
Erdogan told Kristersson on Wednesday that it is in the “common interest to prevent terrorist organisations from taking Sweden’s NATO membership and its bilateral relations with Turkey hostage”, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement by the Turkish presidency.
Ankara was ready to enhance bilateral relations with the Swedish government in every field, the Turkish President said.
Erdogan also conveyed his congratulations to Kristersson for being elected as the Prime Minister of Sweden, according to the statement.
Finland and Sweden’s NATO bid was initially blocked by Ankara, which accused them of supporting anti-Turkey groups as they rejected Ankara’s extradition requests for suspects affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement.
On June 28, Turkey, Sweden and Finland agreed on a trilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) ahead of the NATO Madrid summit.
In the MoU, Finland and Sweden pledged to support Turkey’s fight against terrorism, and agreed to address Ankara’s “pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly”.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades.
The Gulen Movement is led by and named after the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen. The Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding the 2016 failed coup in which at least 250 people were killed.