Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on NATO to give priority to Türkiye’s accession to the European Union, and then talk about Sweden’s accession to NATO.
This came in a press conference held on Monday in Istanbul, before heading to the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, to attend the summit of leaders and heads of government of NATO countries expected tomorrow.
Erdoğan said, “They paved the way for Türkiye’s membership in the European Union first, then we pave the way for Sweden’s membership in NATO, as we paved the way for Finland”.
He added, “I appeal to the countries that have kept Türkiye waiting at the gates of the European Union for more than 50 years, and I will also repeat this appeal at the Vilnius Summit; First, let us pave the way for Türkiye’s membership in the Union, and then pave the way for Sweden’s membership in NATO, just as we paved the way for Finland.
Erdoğan made it clear that progress in Sweden’s accession to NATO depends on the implementation of what reached in the tripartite agreement in Madrid, concluded between Türkiye, Finland and Sweden.
He added, “I will repeat during the NATO summit our call to our allies, who impose sanctions and restrictions on Türkiye, to reverse this mistake quickly”.
Erdoğan continued, “We believe that the end of the Russian-Ukrainian war in a just and lasting manner as soon as possible will facilitate the process of Ukraine’s membership in NATO”.
The Turkish president stated that the NATO summit scheduled for on July 11 in Vilnius is being held at a time when the negative impact of the war in Ukraine on global security and stability has increased.
Erdoğan said that at this critical time, the leaders of NATO countries will exchange views on defense and security issues in the countries of the alliance and will take important decisions during the summit.
“We’ll review the decisions we took during the Madrid summit in order to strengthen the deterrence and defense structure of the alliance and support partners, especially Ukraine… We’ll also organize the first meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council, which was established as an indication of NATO and the allies’ support for Ukraine,” Erdoğan said.
The Turkish President stated that NATO leaders decided to update the alliance’s defense plans, and that the new plans are expected to be approved at the Vilnius Summit.
He added, “At the Vilnius summit, we will evaluate the efforts made to usher in a new phase in NATO’s efforts to combat terrorism, and another important outcome of the summit is the renewal of commitment to a minimum of 2% for defense spending”.
He pointed out that there is another item on the agenda of the Vilnius summit, which is the expansion of NATO, stressing in this context that Türkiye is the country that has always supported the open-door policy of the alliance.
In response to a question about the possibility of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Türkiye, Erdoğan said, “We expect this visit, and I will talk to him about the grain agreement and its extension, and I don’t expect Mr. Putin in this regard, a position contrary to his previous positions”.