In order for Turkey to approve Sweden's NATO application, the country demands, among other things, that Sweden revoke the export ban on weapons introduced against Turkey in 2019. Pictured: An American soldier with the Swedish weapon AT4, a Swedish armored shot manufactured by Saab Dynamics AB. Photo: Sgt. Harley Jelis, New York National Guard. Source: Flickr.


In the shadow of the NATO application: Sweden can reintroduce arms exports to Turkey

Sweden's NATO application has been challenged by Turkey, which does not want to allow a Swedish NATO membership unless Sweden agrees to five demands made by Turkey. One of them is to revoke the export ban on weapons that Sweden introduced against Turkey during 2019.

After Turkey invaded the autonomous Kurdish area in northern Syria in 2019, most EU countries reacted to the action, including Sweden. Foreign Minister Ann Linde considered the invasion contrary to international law, and as a response Sweden stopped its arms exports to Turkey, which the year before had reached a record level.

Turkey, which is a member of NATO, has opposed Swedish NATO membership and demands that Sweden agree to five different demands made by President Tayyip Erdoğan. Among other things, Erdoğan demands that Sweden must revoke its arms embargo and sanctions against Turkey. No arms embargo was ever introduced in practice, but the Swedish Strategic Products Inspectorate (ISP), which is responsible for Swedish arms exports and is the authority that issues permits to Swedish companies wishing to export weapons, in 2019 revoked all export permits to Turkey and rejected all applications the same year. .

But as a result of the demands on Sweden from Turkey, the ISP has now turned its back on the issue of arms exports to Turkey. Karl Evertsson, head of ISP, explains that the situation surrounding Sweden's application to NATO, which has now arisen, may affect whether arms exports are allowed or not.

- The examination is based on defense, security and foreign policy reasons and criteria. They can change over time. It is a turbulent time, everything in the security policy area from the war in Ukraine to the discussion about Swedish NATO membership are aspects that can affect a trial, says Karl Evertsson to Expressen 

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