The US administration is seeking to put pressure on the winner of the presidential election in Turkey, trying to get Ankara to agree to Sweden’s entry into NATO before the alliance’s summit in Vilnius on July 11-12.
“Sweden is now ready for NATO membership,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Derek Hogan said when asked about the steps that Washington will take after the Ankara elections to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership. This coming Sunday (May 28) a round of presidential elections will be held in Turkey. Let’s see how it goes.”
He added: “It is clear that this (Ankara’s ratification of Sweden’s membership in the alliance) will be an integral part of our consultations within the framework of interaction with the new Turkish government.”
“We very much hope that Turkey and Hungary will ratify[Sweden’s]NATO accession protocols as soon as possible, before the Vilnius summit,” Hogan said. He indicated that the United States “is in full consultation with the Turkish government and its allies” regarding Sweden’s NATO membership.
Last March, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara could not ratify Sweden’s membership in NATO because Stockholm refused to extradite 120 terrorists wanted by the Turkish authorities.
Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO in May 2022, but Turkey obstructed the accession process and demanded that Kurdish organizations be declared terrorist organizations and that those accused of terrorism or participation in the 2016 coup attempt be extradited.
On June 28, in Madrid, before the start of the NATO summit, negotiations were held between Erdogan and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, in the presence of the then Prime Minister of Sweden, Magdalena Anderson, and the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg. A memorandum was signed, which was a kind of road map that allowed Stockholm and Helsinki to join NATO.
On March 31, the Turkish parliament approved the protocol on Finland’s accession to NATO, and on April 4, 2023, the country became a member of the alliance.