Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom fears Sweden could now miss out on NATO membership

Image of NATO, Swedish, Finnish and Turkish flags.

Image of NATO, Swedish, Finnish and Turkish flags. Credit: Andrzej Rostek/

If Turkey takes too long to make a decision about his country’s NATO integration, Sweden could miss out, lamented Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom.

Speaking on Friday, March 17, after Turkey announced it would ratify Finland’s accession into NATO, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said he regretted Ankara’s decision. “This is a development that we did not want, but that we were prepared for”, he lamented.

While Turkish President Erdogan insisted that his country will continue to negotiate with Stockholm over its entry into the Alliance, Billstrom pointed out that many things could change if the process was to take too long. “While Finland would be more integrated into NATO, Sweden will be left out”, he said. A vote will be held in Ankara on March 27 to decide Finland’s fate.

Both Nordic countries submitted their applications to join NATO last May, and during a NATO summit in June, they were accepted. In order for their entry to be approved, all 30 of the current members of the Alliance must vote unanimously in favour. Turkey, along with Hungary, refused to do so. Hungary’s Viktor Orban recently stated though that Budapest would ratify their entries.

President Erdogan has accused officials in Stockholm of giving safe haven to individuals he deemed to be ‘terrorists’. He has insisted that around 120 suspects be extradited to Turkey to face charges related to a failed coup against his government in 2016. He argued again yesterday that Stockholm had failed to comply with his demands.

The Turkish leader also accused Sweden of failing to honour a deal that was signed between the three countries in June 2022. “We are doing everything that is written in this memorandum, but we do not do less and we do not do more than what is written in it”, explained Billstrom.

He concluded: “This means that when extradition cases arise that are related to this memorandum, there will be decisions that can be positive and that can be negative from Turkey’s point of view and that is how it will simply be”, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at