Speaking to reporters ahead of a major NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, Erdoğan said that Turkey “for more than 50 years continues to wait at the door of the European Union.”
“First clear the way to the EU in front of Turkey and then we will clear the way in front of Swedenlike we did for Finland,” Erdoğan said at the news conference.
Turkey is the only restriction to approve Stockholm’s accession to NATO after Hungary last week said it would not stand in the way of Sweden once approved by Turkey. All 31 NATO members must sign a country for inclusion.
President Biden hopes to win Sweden’s entry into NATO during this week’s summit. Stockholm first applied more than a year ago along with fellow Nordic country Finland. Both countries applied shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, raising concerns about European security.
Finland’s membership continued until March, when Turkey gave its final approval to the country’s membership.
Erdogan, however, has expressed serious concerns about Sweden’s position of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a terrorist group in the eyes of the EU, Turkey and the US
On Monday, Erdoğan highlighted him would like to see more progress in a trilateral memorandum between Turkey, Finland and Sweden pledging a commitment to address security concerns.
“We as Turkey are tired of saying that it is necessary to fight against terrorist organizations and their extensions without making any distinction between them,” Erdoğan said.
it it is unclear whether a deal will be reached no EU membership for Turkey.
Ankara has formally sought to join the EU since 1987, when it applied to the EU’s predecessor. Negotiations for years have stalled in between human rights and democracy concerns in Turkey.
Read the full report at TheHill.com.