Turkish President Erdogan stated on Monday that he will push the NATO summit to clear the road for Ankara’s EU membership so that Turkey may pave the way for Sweden’s NATO membership, according to local media.
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 that as for Sweden, the process continues.
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 Turks, we are sick of repeating that we must fight terrorist organizations and their extensions without discrimination,” he added.
“No one should expect Ankara to provide concessions and understanding in a scenario where Turkish soldiers, police officers, and civilian residents have been martyred by terror groups”, 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.
Erdogan also said Sweden’s NATO bid and Türkiye’s F-16 purchase from the US are not linked to each other.