Turkey’s President Erdoğan said on Monday that he would approve Sweden’s NATO membership only if the EU clears Turkey’s path to joining the bloc.
Turkey has been seeking EU membership for over 50 years but faces obstacles over its human rights record. Erdoğan also wants Sweden to cooperate more in fighting the Kurdish organizations which Turkey considers terrorists.
Sweden applied to join NATO last year along with Finland, which got Turkey’s approval in March.
The NATO summit in Lithuania this week aims to finalize Sweden’s accession, but Erdoğan’s stance may complicate the process.
Turkey and the EU have conflicting interests, especially on the European values that Turkey has not met. It remains to be seen how the EU will respond to Erdoğan’s demands for Turkey’s inclusion without fulfilling these criteria.