Turkey's Erdogan to meet Swedish PM Kristersson to discuss extraditions, NATO bid

ISTANBUL, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said he will meet Sweden's new prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, to discuss Stockholm's bid to join NATO as well as the extradition of people Ankara considers terrorists.

Sweden and fellow Nordic country Finland launched their bids to join NATO in May in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but they ran into objections from Turkey.

Ankara accuses them of harbouring people it deems terrorists, namely Kurdish militants and those accused of involvement in a 2016 coup attempt.

Erdogan said Kristersson, who took office on Monday, sided with the fight againt terrorism, Turkish broadcaster NTV reported.

"He has statements such as 'we should not be harbouring terrorism and terrorists'," Erdogan said. "Of course we will have tested their sincerity on this issue in the meeting that we will hold."

Erdogan made his comments to Turkish media on a return flight from a trip to Azerbaijan on Thursday.

Speaking in Helsinki on Friday after a meeting with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom welcomed the discussions.

"In the fullness of time, we believe that everything will lead to...the ratification of and by the Turkish parliament of the application of Finland and Sweden to join NATO," Billstrom told reporters.

He said the new Swedish government would continue to implement the trilateral agreement struck in Madrid to smooth the path into NATO for Sweden and Finland.

"Among other things, countering terrorism will be a priority for Sweden before and after our accession to NATO," he said.

Erdogan has said Turkey's parliament would not approve the Nordic countries' NATO bids if they do not extradite the people Ankara has requested.

Sweden has taken "concrete action" to address Turkey's concerns over its NATO membership bid, Stockholm told Ankara in a letter dated Oct. 6 and seen by Reuters.

Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Simon Johnson, Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen and Angus MacSwan

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