NATO chief says he supports Türkiye’s will to become EU member

Türkiye
Mon, 10 Jul 2023 21:19 GMT
Stoltenberg's remarks come after Turkish President Erdogan said first let's pave the way for Türkiye in the
NATO chief says he supports Türkiye’s will to become EU member

The chief of NATO on Monday said he supports Türkiye's will to gain EU membership.

"I support Türkiye's ambition to become a member of the European Union," Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a press conference held with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda in the caplital Vilnius where the alliance is holding a summit this week.

His remarks came after Turkish President Erdogan on Monday said he would urge the NATO summit to open a path for Ankara's EU membership.

"First, let's pave the way for Türkiye in the EU, and then we will pave the way for Sweden just as we did for Finland," Erdogan told a news conference in Istanbul before heading to Vilnius to attend the summit.

Stoltenberg also said it is still possible to reach a deal on Sweden's NATO bid during the summit.

During the two-day NATO summit, the leaders will address the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, its challenges to NATO, and steps to strengthen the military alliance's defense and deterrence. Sweden's bid to join NATO bid will also be discussed.

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

Although Türkiye has approved Finland's NATO membership, it is waiting for Sweden to fulfill its commitments under the deal.

Previously, Erdogan underlined that Sweden cannot hope to join NATO as long as it gives shelter and a green light to terrorists and supporters of terrorists.

To join NATO, Sweden needs the approval of all of its current members, including Türkiye, which has been in the alliance for over 70 years and boasts its second-largest army.​​​​​​​

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