White House Fully Supports Sweden Joining NATO But Turkey Opposes
In May last year, Sweden and Finland sought North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) membership during Russia’s Ukraine invasion. However, Finland was the only one allowed so far because of Turkey’s resistance to Sweden. When a country wants to join NATO, it must have the support of all alliance members.
US Exhibits Total Support to Sweden’s Bid to Join NATO
On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden discussed with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson his full support for Sweden’s bid to join NATO. He’s hoping that the EU bloc member could join the high-profile summit of the leaders in Lithuania next week.
“Sweden is a capable and committed partner. I want to reiterate the United States fully, fully, fully supports Sweden’s membership in NATO. The bottom line is simple: Sweden is going to make our alliance stronger,” said Biden.
Kristersson stipulated that the US and Sweden share priorities, such as supporting Ukraine’s resistance against Russia’s aggression. He greatly appreciates the support from Biden and believes that both of them have things to accord.
Obstructions on Sweden’s Petition for NATO Membership
From the start, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the proposes to defy Sweden for granting asylum to militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members. The US and EU considered them terrorists who engaged in lengthy rebellions.
During the 2022 summit, Erdogan bargained a deal with Sweden and Finland to grant both bids if they were able to meet the conditions. However, Finland was the only one to move forward leaving Sweden. This is despite what senior NATO and US officials said that both countries were able to meet the requirements. Finland joined the alliance this April.
This May, Sweden strengthened its anti-terrorism law. However, Erdogan noted that the Nordic country isn’t rigid enough on the rebels. He reiterated his standpoint against Sweden’s membership that it’s unlikely to get resolved ahead of next week’s summit.
According to the Turkish President, they conveyed the dedicated determination against terrorist groups and Islamophobia are their red line. He added that Turkish friendship can’t be earned by fostering terrorism or by establishing a zone for terrorists.
Hungary Supports Turkey’s Decision
Hungary doesn’t agree about Sweden’s bid to join NATO, backing Turkey’s decision. Prime Minister Viktor Orban hasn’t agreed to Sweden joining the alliance. He claimed that Swedish leaders “misspoke” the status of Hungary’s democracy, that it had made demands of Sweden.
“If there is a shift [in Turkiye’s decision], then, of course, we will keep the promise that Hungary will not hold up any country in terms of membership,” said Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.
He added that he had discussed the matter with Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hakan Fidan. They both agreed that they will complementarily inform each other regarding the future steps of their respective countries.
Photo Credit: danzig_hamburg/Pixabay