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Istanbul terror attack to have consequences for Sweden’s NATO entry bid, says expert

The bomb attack on Istanbul’s Istiklal Street on November 13 took the lives of six people and left over 80 others wounded

STOCKHOLM, November 15. /TASS/. The terror blast that rocked central Istanbul leaving at least six people dead will have consequences for Sweden’s entry bid to NATO, Halil Karaveli, an expert on Turkey at the Stockholm-based Institute for Security and Development Policy, said on Tuesday.

The expert thus commented on a statement by Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu that Ankara had rejected Washington’s condolences over the Istanbul terror attack.

"This is Turkey’s harshest pronouncement with regard to the United States and he points to the US as the country that finances the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)," Karaveli pointed out.

"This statement clearly shows that Sweden should not expect the US to remedy the situation with Sweden’s NATO membership bid. This is because there are those in Sweden who believe that there is no need to do anything because the US will turn up the pressure on Turkey to ensure Sweden’s admission into the bloc. This will not happen because Turkey now views the United States as an enemy," the expert pointed out.

The bomb attack on Istanbul’s Istiklal Street on November 13 took the lives of six people and left over 80 others wounded. The investigative team believes that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) banned in Turkey and its Syrian branch called the People’s Defense Units are complicit in the terror blast. The Turkish interior minister completely shunned and rejected the US embassy’s condolences after the terrorist attack, accusing Washington of its support for the PKK and insincerity.

Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO on May 18 but Turkey immediately blocked their bids to get into the US-led bloc, demanding that the Nordic countries declare Kurdish organizations as terror groups, extradite individuals accused of terrorism or complicity in the 2016 failed coup attempt in the country and lift a ban on arms exports to Ankara.

On June 28, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, then-Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The parties signed a memorandum, paving the way for Stockholm and Helsinki to join the military alliance. As the Turkish leader said, Sweden pledged to extradite over 70 individuals complicit in terrorist activity.