President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday called on the European Union to open the door for Türkiye’s accession into the bloc in order for Ankara to back Sweden's membership in NATO, reports TurkicWorld with the reference to Daily Sabah.
Erdoğan was speaking at the airport before departing for the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.
"First, let's pave the way for Türkiye in the European Union, and then we will pave the way for Sweden just as we did for Finland," the president said.
Türkiye has the longest history with the union and the longest negotiation process. The country signed an association agreement with the EU's predecessor in 1964, the European Economic Community (EEC), which is usually regarded as a first step to eventually becoming a candidate. Applying for official candidacy in 1987, Türkiye had to wait until 1999 to be granted the status of a candidate country. For the start of the negotiations, however, Türkiye had to wait for another six years, until 2005, a uniquely long process compared with other candidates.
"The progress of the process for Sweden's membership in NATO depends on fulfilling the specified issues in the trilateral memorandum."
In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in May 2022. Finland has been a member of the alliance since April 2023.
Türkiye has delayed giving its final approval to Sweden’s membership in NATO, as the country has been too lenient toward anti-Islamic demonstrations as well as terrorist entities.
Erdoğan reiterated that Sweden's NATO membership is at the discretion of the Turkish Parliament.