Turkey would back Sweden's NATO bid in return for EU membership: Erdogan

Turkey would back Sweden's NATO bid in return for EU membership: Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: 'First, open the way to Turkey's membership of the European Union, and then we will open it for Sweden.'
1 min read
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: 'Turkey has been waiting at the EU's front door for 50 years' [Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency/Getty]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday he would back Sweden's NATO candidacy if the European Union resumes long-stalled membership talks with Ankara.

"First, open the way to Turkey's membership of the European Union, and then we will open it for Sweden, just as we had opened it for Finland," Erdogan told a televised media appearance, before departing for the NATO summit in Lithuania.

Erdogan said "this is what I told" US President Joe Biden when the two leaders spoke by phone on Sunday.

Turkey first applied to be a member of the European Economic Community – a predecessor to the EU – in 1987.

World
Live Story

It became an EU candidate country in 1999 and formally launched membership negotiations with the bloc in 2005.

The talks stalled in 2016 over European concerns about Turkish human rights violations.

"I would like to underline one reality. Turkey has been waiting at the EU's front door for 50 years," Erdogan said.

"Almost all the NATO members are EU members. I now am addressing these countries, which are making Turkey wait for more than 50 years, and I will address them again in Vilnius."