President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ally, radical Islamist New Welfare Party’s (YRP) leader and parliamentary deputy Fatih Erbakan on July 13 criticized the former’s approval of Sweden's bid to join NATO.
“Turkey has been disappointed and empty-handed in all its relations with NATO and the Western Alliance under US patronage. Our expectation from our government is to reconsider the decision to approve Sweden's entry into NATO in order not to cause new pages of disappointment in relations with the West,” Erbakan said according to reporting by Demirören News Agency.
“It is well known to our public that Sweden did not take any significant steps despite all the warnings and warnings of Turkey. The opening of the NATO path to Sweden, which did not interfere with, and even encouraged, attacks on our saints, caused extremely justified reactions in our country,” Islamist party leader said.
Erbakan asked what Turkey would benefit in exchange for the support of Sweden's bid to join NATO.
“Turkey has been waiting at the door of the European Union for more than 50 years. Our late (Necmettin) Erbakan Hoca said, ‘Who is Europe? We are the most honorable nation in history. We see Europe as worthy of something or not!’,” Erbakan added.
Erbakan’s remarks came after Erdoğan on July 10 agreed to forward to parliament Sweden's bid to join the NATO military alliance, appearing to end months of drama over an issue that had strained the bloc as war raged in Ukraine.
Similar to Erbakan, Erdoğan’s another coalition partner, far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli on July 11 criticized the move and said Sweden could not distance itself from “terrorist organizations.”
“Whatever Mount Kandil (PKK headquarters) is, Stockholm is the same. We won't say anything if Sweden reverts from its policies,” Bahçeli said during his party’s parliamentary group meeting.
Since Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) has 263 parliamentary seats out of 600, the ratification of Sweden's NATO bid will require the support of other ruling coalition parties in case the opposition will not vote on behalf.