Erdogan Says Sweden Not Taking Enough Steps to Join NATO

Erdogan Says Sweden Not Taking Enough Steps to Join NATO

Erdogan called Sweden’s steps to ratify its NATO membership insufficient

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described Sweden’s steps to ratify its NATO membership as insufficient in an interview with US television channel PBS.

Finland and Sweden applied to join the alliance in May 2022 against the backdrop of events in Ukraine. Finland became NATO’s 31st member on 4 April. Sweden’s application has not yet received final Hungarian and Turkish approval. Sweden, as a member of the European Union, agreed in talks with Erdogan in Vilnius before the NATO summit to help boost Turkey’s EU accession process in exchange for ratification of the application. At the same time, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized that the issues of Sweden’s accession to NATO and Turkey’s accession to the EU “are not linked.” In August, the NATO secretary general said he was optimistic about Sweden joining the alliance this autumn.

Noting that Sweden must fulfil its promises to fight terrorism, Erdogan said Ankara still sees “terrorists moving through the streets of Stockholm”. He said Sweden’s proposal to join NATO would be considered by Turkey’s Grand National Assembly (TGNA) and that it was the parliament’s decision that would be decisive.

“This is part of the Grand National Assembly’s agenda. Parliament will assess the situation within its calendar. The proposal will be put to a vote of the deputies,” the Turkish president said.

“For this (ratification) to happen, Sweden must of course fulfil its promises. Terrorist organizations must immediately stop their demonstrations and actions on the streets of Stockholm. Because it will be very important for the Turkish people to see that this is really happening. Sweden seems to have changed the legislation, but it is not enough,” the Turkish leader emphasized.

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