Swedish Consul General in Istanbul Peter Ericson has emphasized that the first alliance between his country and Türkiye was established in 1739 and that the two countries have been in an alliance since then. By Seda Türkoğlu in Hurriyet Daily News on March 25, 2023.
Waiting for Türkiye’s approval for its NATO membership, Sweden has actually been in an alliance with Türkiye since 1739 when a treaty of amity was signed between Sweden and Ottoman Empire, Ericson pointed out during his interview with daily Hürriyet.
Ericson stated that the two countries had a checkered past in their relations, saying, “In this process, there have been many ups and downs in Swedish-Turkish relations. But mostly, there is an uptrend.”
“In 1739, a treaty of alliance, unity and friendship was signed between Sweden and the Ottoman Empire. In a way, a defense alliance was formed. So, our relationships are quite deep-rooted,” he expressed.
Reminding that both counties have been neighbors with Russia throughout history and tried to handle it in the most successful way, he noted that Türkiye and Sweden have always shared common interests.
“We have never fought in history. I think it is very important,” he added.
The historical document of the agreement in 1739 is hung on the wall of the Swedish Palace in Istanbul.
Touching upon the burning of the Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm incident, which put an additional burden on Sweden’s accession process, Ericson said that the act caused unrest in many ways.
“The government and the vast majority of Swedes are against Islamophobic acts. The act of burning the Quran had very unfortunate consequences. Many of our staff have started working from home as Swedish police also warned that Swedes might become targets,” he explained.
Stating that they are aware of Türkiye’s concerns regarding terrorism, Ericson noted that Sweden not only respects these concerns but also works closely with Turkish authorities about them.
“We strive to improve our cooperation in the fight against terrorism. This is a long ongoing process. It even resulted in a change of our institution. The anti-terror law planned to be enacted is currently being discussed in the parliament,” Ericson said.
Noting that the joint application of Sweden and Finland to NATO is a strategic change of direction, Ericson stated that Finland’s NATO membership would not be complete without Sweden.
“To understand this, it is necessary to look at NATO from a broader perspective. How can Finland be defended without Sweden? All defense plans can be considered in a single context. How can you send troops from Norway to Finland when there is Sweden that is not a member of NATO? How can you fly from the U.S. to the Baltic Sea?” Ericson expressed.