Türkiye presses for EU membership to ratify Sweden's NATO bid
Turkish President Erdogan on Monday said he will urge the NATO summit to open a path for Ankara's EU membership so Türkiye paves the way for Sweden's NATO membership, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency.
"Almost all of the NATO member countries are now members of the EU. I am calling out to these countries that have kept Türkiye waiting at the door of the EU for more than 50 years, but I will also call out to Vilnius.
"First, let's pave the way for Türkiye in the EU, and then we will pave the way for Sweden just as we did for Finland," Erdogan said at a news conference in Istanbul before heading to Lithuania's capital Vilnius to attend a NATO summit.
Erdogan said he will express these views and make the demands while meeting with leaders on the sidelines of the summit.
Later on Monday, Erdogan said he will have a trilateral meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, adding: "As for Sweden, the process continues. Our relevant institutions maintain their contacts with their Swedish counterparts with a transparent and well-intentioned manner."
However, the president also reiterated that Sweden's NATO membership is contingent on the fulfillment of issues outlined in a tripartite agreement signed last year in Madrid during a NATO summit.
"As Türkiye, we are tired of repeating that we need to fight terrorist organizations and their extensions indiscriminately," he added.
In a situation where Turkish soldiers, police officers, and civilians citizens have been martyred by the terror groups, no one should expect Ankara to show concessions and understanding, Erdogan added.
Stockholm's accession to NATO is also at the discretion of the Turkish parliament, he stressed.
During the two-day NATO summit in Vilnius, the leaders will address ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, its challenges to NATO, and steps to strengthen the military alliance's defense and deterrence. Sweden's bid to join NATO bid will be also on the agenda.
Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership soon after Russia launched war on Ukraine in February 2022.
Although Türkiye approved Finland's membership to NATO, it is waiting for Sweden to fulfill its commitments under the deal.
Previously, Erdogan underlined that Sweden cannot hope to join NATO as long as it gives shelter and a green light for terrorists and supporters of terrorists.
To join NATO, Sweden needs the approval of all of its current members, including Türkiye, which has been in the alliance for over 70 years and boasts its second-largest army.