President Erdoğan links Sweden's NATO bid to Turkey's EU accession

Turkish President Erdoğan has linked Turkey's approval of Sweden's NATO bid to Ankara's accession to the European Union.

Photo: AA

Reuters - Duvar English

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on July 10 that the European Union should open the way for Ankara's accession to the bloc before Turkey's parliament approves Sweden's bid to join the NATO military alliance.

Speaking ahead of his departure for the NATO summit in Vilnius, Erdoğan said Sweden's accession hinges on the implementation of a deal reached last summer during the alliance's summit in Madrid, adding that no one should expect compromises from Ankara.

"Open the way for Turkey in the European Union. Then, we will open the way for Sweden, just as we opened the way for Finland. Turkey has been waiting at the door of the EU for 50 years," the 69-year-old leader said during a press conference held at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul.

Erdoğan also said ending the war in Ukraine with a just and lasting peace as soon as possible "will facilitate Ukraine's NATO membership process."

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership last year, abandoning policies of military non-alignment that had lasted through the decades of the Cold War in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

While Finland's NATO membership was green-lighted in April, Turkey and Hungary have yet to clear Sweden's bid. Stockholm has been working to join at next week's NATO summit in Vilnius.