Erdogan sets new conditions

Turkish leader wants EU door to open so that Ankara lifts its objection to Sweden joining NATO

Erdogan sets new conditions

Turkey’s EU membership was thrown on the negotiating table at the last minute by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of Tuesday’s NATO meeting in what is seen as an attempt to prove to Turkish public opinion that he has won additional gains to lift Ankara’s veto on Sweden’s membership of the Alliance. 

Meanwhile, the assurance that the US Congress will ensure that NATO allies like Greece will stand strong no matter the developments with Turkey was given by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez. 

Erdogan’s comments were made ahead of his departure for the NATO summit in Vilnius. 

“I am calling from here on these countries that are making Turkey wait at the door of the European Union for more than 50 years,” Erdogan said.

“First, come and open the way for Turkey to the European Union and then we will open the way for Sweden, just as we did for Finland,” he said, adding that he would repeat his call during the summit.

After membership negotiations began in 2005, during Erdogan’s first term as prime minister, Turkey’s application to join the EU was put on hold for many years.

Relations with the EU soured after a failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016, but have since generally mended. Ankara, a NATO partner, is important to the bloc, notably in terms of migration.

In other developments, Menendez stated that countries that share values with the US, and are actively promoting said values, will remain in a strong position irrespective of other efforts that may be undertaken, particularly as relates to Sweden’s accession to the Alliance.

He said that his veto on the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey is not written in law and the administration could attempt to bypass it.

Menendez stated that he would react to such an action but said that he would ensure that close partners of the US, like Greece, would remain in a strong position.

Menendez also said that he spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the importance of Greece, and how it is a reliable NATO ally that must be considered when making decisions. He also revealed he held a conversation with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. 

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