President Erdoğan, NATO chief, Swedish PM hold meeting in Vilnius

President Erdoğan, NATO chief, Swedish PM hold meeting in Vilnius

Baku. TurkicWorld:

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is holding a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson ahead of the critical NATO summit to take place Tuesday, reports TurkicWorld with the reference to Daily Sabah.

The meeting is taking place at the Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Centre (LITEXPO) in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, at 1430 GMT.

Erdoğan will also separately meet Charles Michel, the president of the European Council. It is expected that the meeting will begin at 1630 GMT.

The meetings will be closed to the media.

Earlier, Erdoğan departed for Vilnius to attend the NATO leaders' summit slated for July 11-12.

The two-day summit of NATO leaders will address the 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.

President Erdoğan surprised many earlier in the day by making approval of Sweden's admission to NATO dependent on the revival of Türkiye's EU accession talks with Ankara.

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.

“Türkiye was kept waiting at the door of the European Union for more than 50 years while almost all NATO members are EU members,” Erdoğan lamented. He said he conveyed Türkiye’s expectation from the EU during a phone call with U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday. “I will make the same statements in Vilnius. Our nation expects us to do so. It has been more than 50 years. We are not an ordinary country. They should know this,” he said.