Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Sweden Resumes Arms Exports to Türkiye after NATO Membership Bid

Sweden Resumes Arms Exports to Türkiye after NATO Membership Bid

Saturday, 1 October, 2022 - 05:30
Swedish and NATO flags are seen printed on paper this illustration taken April 13, 2022. (Reuters)

Sweden's Inspectorate of Strategic Products (ISP) said on Friday reversed a ban against exporting military equipment to Türkiye, following the Nordic country's decision to join the NATO military alliance and agreement to overcome Turkish objections.

The Sweden and Finland sought membership to NATO earlier this year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but faced a hurdle as its application needs the approval of all 30 current members, with Türkiye raising objections.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had threatened to block their bids over Ankara's accusations they supported the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, which it views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which is also deemed a terrorist group by the United States and European Union.

Sweden and Finland effectively banned arms exports to Türkiye in 2019 after its incursion into Syria against the YPG, with ISP revoking existing permits and granting no new ones since then though no formal embargo existed.

The three countries reached a breakthrough agreement on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid in June, where Sweden and Finland agreed on a set of steps to be taken to address Türkiye’s concerns about the candidacies.

The ISP said in a statement it began giving export permits during the third quarter but did not reveal which companies or products had been given the go-ahead, citing confidentiality.

"Taking into account the altered defense and security policy conditions, ISP has after a full review decided to grant a permit for follow-up deliveries from Swedish defense industry to Türkiye," the authority said.

Türkiye in May this year said it had received positive signals with regards to a lifting of the embargo.

Editor Picks