Erdogan Approves Sweden's NATO Membership
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sent to the country's parliament a protocol for the ratification of Sweden's accession to the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO).
"The protocol for Sweden's NATO membership was signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 23, 2023, and submitted for consideration by Turkey's Grand National Assembly (parliament)," stated the Turkish President's press office on social media.
Sweden applied for NATO membership last year, and all NATO member countries, except Turkey and Hungary, have ratified its accession. Turkey is demanding more action from Sweden to suppress the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which it considers a terrorist group. Erdogan has issued an ultimatum, stating that Turkey will approve Sweden's application when Stockholm extradites 130 "terrorists" to Ankara.
As previously reported by The Gaze, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unexpectedly announced his willingness to support Sweden's NATO membership application after a year of delay. However, he now also seeks Turkey's EU membership in return. Turkey's bid to join the EU has been on hold for many years, with membership negotiations commencing in 2005.
"I call on the countries that made Turkey wait at the European Union's door for over 50 years," Erdogan stated before departing for the NATO summit in Vilnius. "First, come and pave the way for Turkey's entry into the European Union, and then we will open the path for Sweden, as we did for Finland," he added. He made this decision following a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.
Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek explained that Turkey has faced challenges over the past decades. Its path has been complicated by domestic and regional issues, setbacks, and challenges that could have derailed it. However, he assured that Ankara is ready to undertake economic and political reforms.
In September 2023, the Turkish leader stated that Turkey's parliament would ratify Sweden's NATO membership if the U.S. supplies Ankara with F-16 fighter jets.
Sweden and Finland jointly applied for NATO membership, but while Finland received approval in April, Sweden's membership is still pending.