A high-ranking US official confirmed, on Monday, that the United States supports Turkey’s aspiration to join the European Union, but does not see that Ankara should link this to its acceptance. Sweden’s accession to NATO.
“The United States has supported Turkey’s aspirations to join the European Union for years, and we continue to support them,” said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller, adding, “But we don’t think that should be necessary.” be an obstacle to Sweden’s accession to NATOHe continued, “We think they are two separate things.”
That came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan linked the two matters. Erdogan said that the European Union must open the way for Ankara to join it before the Turkish parliament approves Sweden’s bid to join NATO.
Miller stressed that the United States has no role in the European Union’s decisions regarding its membership, saying: “In the end, this is an issue between the European Union and Turkey,” but stressed that the expansion of NATO to include Sweden is important to Washington.
Miller indicated that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke to his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan three times in the past six days, and that President Joe Biden spoke with Erdogan on Sunday.
Miller said that Sweden met Ankara’s demands to obtain its consent to join NATO. He continued, “We see that Sweden has accepted it, and as I said, we consider that the time has come to move to full membership.”
Meeting between the Turkish President and the Prime Minister of Sweden on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Vilnius
In turn, Germany was quick to reject the Turkish condition, stressing that there is no relationship between these two issues. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said during a press conference in Berlin, “They should not be considered as two related issues,” stressing that “nothing prevents Sweden from joining NATO.”
In a related context, Erdogan met with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, on Monday, on the eve of the NATO summit to be hosted by the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, during which NATO leaders wish to appear united in the face of Russia.
Michel and Erdogan agreed to seek closer cooperation. Michel praised the “good meeting” in a tweet, adding that they “discussed future opportunities to bring EU-Turkey cooperation back to the fore and revitalize our relations.”
Türkiye is still blocking Sweden’s accession to NATO. The Turkish President met NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Christerson in Vilnius.
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