Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made Sweden’s support for NATO membership conditional on Ankara’s EU membership.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will support Sweden’s NATO candidacy if the EU resumes long-stalled membership talks with Ankara.
Speaking to the media before leaving for the NATO summit in Lithuania, President Erdogan said, “First, open the way for Turkey’s EU membership, then we will open it for Sweden as we opened it for Finland.”
He said Ankara could support Sweden’s NATO bid if the EU accepts Turkey, as he did in a telephone conversation with US President Joe Biden on Sunday.
Erdogan also said that Sweden’s accession depends on the implementation of the agreement reached during the alliance summit in Madrid last June, and that no one should expect a compromise from Ankara.
Turkey wants Sweden to crack down on groups it considers a threat to national security, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian offshoots.
EU negotiations freeze
Turkey first applied to become a pioneer member of the European Economic Community in 1987.
It became an EU candidate country in 1999 and formally opened membership negotiations with the bloc in 2005, but since 2016 negotiations have stalled over human rights allegations.