Sweden's accession to NATO at discretion of Turkish parliament: President Erdogan

Sweden's accession to NATO at discretion of Turkish parliament: President Erdogan

Parliament to follow steps taken, make right decision in line with Türkiye's interests, says Recep Tayyip Erdogan

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) - Sweden's accession to NATO is at the discretion of the Turkish parliament, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, adding that lawmakers would make the right decision in line with Ankara's interests.

"The authority to approve Sweden's accession protocols is the Turkish Grand National Assembly. There is a process running now.

"Our parliament will follow the steps taken and will make the right decision in line with the interests of our country," Erdogan told reporters on Wednesday on the presidential plane returning from a two-day NATO summit in Lithuania.

On Monday, ahead of the NATO summit, Erdogan agreed to forward to the Turkish parliament Sweden's bid to join NATO following a trilateral meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership shortly after Russia launched its war on Ukraine in February 2022.

Although Türkiye approved Finland's membership to NATO, it is waiting for Sweden to fulfill its commitments not to provide shelter to terrorists and supporters of terrorists and not to greenlight their actions.

"Again, as a result of our efforts, the decision to appoint a special coordinator for combating terrorism was announced for the first time in the history of the alliance.

"Sweden's NATO membership was one of the issues highlighted in the context of the summit. Our principled stance on this issue has been clear from the very beginning. We continued our policy here as well," Erdogan said.

Turning to Türkiye's EU membership process, Erdogan said: "There is a positive opinion about the revitalization of our EU membership process.

"We will accelerate the negotiations for updating the Customs Union, which will have a multiplier effect on the Turkish economy. I believe that we will make progress in visa liberalization as well."

Türkiye applied for EU membership in 1987 and has been a candidate country since 1999.

Negotiations for full membership started in October 2005 but have stalled in recent years due to political hurdles erected by some countries.

Erdogan said his chief adviser Akif Cagatay Kilic went to Brussels to discuss the issues, adding: "He will discuss both the Customs Union and visa liberalization issues. I believe these will be in favor of Türkiye."

Türkiye always keeps its promises, Erdogan said, adding that Ankara wants to soon see the "tangible results" of talks with the EU carried out on a win-win basis.

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