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Erdogan Ties Sweden’s NATO Bid to Türkiye’s EU Accession Talks

Türkiye will support Sweden’s joining NATO if the European Union (EU) revived membership talks with Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

“First, let’s pave the way for Türkiye in the EU, then let’s pave the way for Sweden, just as the case with Finland,” Erdogan told reporters before leaving for Vilnius, Lithuania, where he will attend the NATO summit on July 11-12.

Türkiye signed an association agreement with the EU’s predecessor European Economic Community in 1964, applied to join the bloc in 1987, and was granted official candidate status in 1999.

Ankara started membership talks with Brussels in 2005, but no breakthrough has been made since then.

“Right now Türkiye has been kept at the EU door for more than 50 years and almost all NATO member states are currently EU members,” Erdogan said.

Türkiye has been holding a veto of Sweden’s NATO accession on the grounds that the Nordic country harbors members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is listed as a terror group by Ankara, the EU and the United States.

Erdogan expected to meet with Sweden’s prime minister in Vilnius on the eve of the two-day NATO summit.

Sweden is seeking a green light from Türkiye after taking a series of measures to fulfill the Erdogan administration’s requirements, including toughening its anti-terror laws to address Ankara’s security concerns. 

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