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Erdogan dampens Sweden’s expectations of NATO membership

Sweden hopes to join NATO before the alliance’s summit in July. However, Turkish President Erdogan has signaled that he will probably not agree until then. Türkiye’s conditions are still not met.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is still leaving open whether his country will agree to Sweden joining NATO. “Sweden has expectations, but that doesn’t mean we live up to those expectations,” Erdogan said, according to the state news agency Anadolu. Sweden hopes to become a member before the NATO summit in Vilnius in July.

Erdogan continues to accuse Sweden of not taking decisive action against organizations that Turkey classifies as terrorist organizations. “If you don’t take care of it, we can’t say ‘yes’ in Vilnius,” Erdogan said.

Sweden sees commitments as fulfilled

Sweden’s Supreme Court recently approved the first extradition of a supporter of the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK to Turkey. Terror laws have also been tightened.

Nevertheless, Erdogan does not see the conditions that he had set a year ago for approval of Sweden’s NATO membership as having been met. He instructed his chief foreign policy adviser to deliver this message at a meeting with delegates from Sweden, Finland and NATO in Ankara on Wednesday, Erdogan told Turkish journalists. He himself did not attend the meeting.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson had previously described the meeting as “very important”. His government has fulfilled its commitments to Turkey to ratify NATO membership.

Hungary is also still blocking

In addition to Turkey, Hungary is also blocking Sweden’s accession, but is apparently following Ankara’s stance. Hungary is expected to relent once Turkey does. It was similar when Finland joined NATO in early April.

With information from Karin Senz, ARD Studio Istanbul

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