Erdogan's Blackmail: Turkey Seeks EU Membership in Exchange for Sweden's NATO Accession
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey unexpectedly announced his willingness to support Sweden's application to join NATO after a year of delay, but now he also wants EU membership for Turkey in return, according to Sky News.
As we know, unanimous consent from all current NATO members is required to approve new members. However, President Erdogan of Turkey remains firm in his position that Sweden has not done enough to counter the activities of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party, which Turkey considers as terrorists.
Today, Erdogan added Turkey's EU membership to his list of previous demands in exchange for finalizing support for Sweden's NATO accession.
Turkey's attempt to join the EU has been on hold for many years, with membership negotiations first starting in 2005.
"I call on these countries that make Turkey wait at the doors of the European Union for more than 50 years," Erdogan said before his departure for the NATO summit in Vilnius.
"First, come and open the way for Turkey to the European Union, and then we will open the way for Sweden, as we did for Finland," he added.
Sweden and Finland jointly applied for NATO membership, but while Finland received the green light in April, Turkey and Hungary have not yet approved Sweden's accession.
Deborah Haynes, the Defense Editor at Sky News, described Erdogan's statement as a sharp demand ahead of the NATO summit and prior to today's meeting with the Prime Minister of Sweden and the NATO Secretary-General. "So much for unity among allies, and the summit hasn't even started yet," she noted.
The German publication Tagesspiegel directly labeled Erdogan's statement as blackmail: Turkey's President wants to link Sweden's NATO accession with the prospect of EU membership. There can only be one response to this blackmail attempt: no!
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, on the other hand, expressed support for Turkey's ambitions to join the EU but reminded not to forget the agreements made at the Madrid Summit in 2022, when Sweden presented a "concrete list of conditions" for NATO membership.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also commented on the Turkish President's statement, urging Erdogan not to equate the issue of Sweden's NATO membership with Turkey's Eurointegration and emphasizing that these issues are not related. Scholz also reiterated that Sweden has fulfilled all the requirements for NATO accession.