Erdogan resorts to blackmail: First settle Turkey’s EU accession, then we’ll recognize Sweden’s entry into NATO

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that the European Union must clear the way for Turkey to join the NATO military alliance before the Turkish parliament approves Sweden’s bid to join the NATO military alliance, Reuters and AFP reported.

Recep Tayyip ErdoganPhoto: MURAD SEZER / AFP / Profimedia

Turkey’s president has said his country would support Sweden joining NATO if Brussels reopens Turkey’s EU accession talks.

“I appeal from here to these countries that have kept Turkey waiting at the door of the European Union for more than 50 years,” Erdogan said on Monday, a day before the start of NATO’s annual summit in Vilnius.

“First you pave the way for Turkey to join the European Union, then we will pave the way for Sweden,” he added.

Speaking before his departure for Vilnius, Erdogan said Sweden’s entry into NATO depends on the implementation of the agreement reached during the alliance’s summit in Madrid last summer, and that no one should expect any compromise from Ankara.

Erdogan also said that the end of the war between Ukraine and Russia would facilitate the process for Kiev to join NATO.

Turkey has blocked Sweden’s entry into NATO, citing Stockholm’s lack of commitment to combating “terrorist organizations”, by which Ankara mainly refers to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkey applied to join the European Community as early as 1987, became an official candidate for EU membership in 1999, and negotiations began in 2005. They progressed very slowly, with only 16 negotiation chapters opened in 2016. Later this year, negotiations began.

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Furthermore, European voices such as Manfred Werner called for the abolition of the accession process. “No one wants Turkey to become a member of the European Union,” the EPP leader said recently.

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