OAN’s Noah Herring
2:20 PM – Monday, July 10, 2023
Turkey agreed to support Sweden’s bid to join NATO on Monday after months of opposition, according to NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, opposed the bid suggesting that Sweden could only join the alliance after Turkey was accepted into the European Union. Erdogan has stood in the way of Sweden joining the alliance for more than a year over many different concerns.
“President Erdogan has agreed to forward the Accession Protocol for Sweden to the Grand National Assembly as soon as possible and work closely with the assembly to ensure ratification,” said Stoltenberg.
“This is a historic day,” Stoltenberg added, as world leaders gathered, ahead of a NATO summit.
President Joe Biden spoke with Ergodan while flying aboard Air Force One on Sunday. Biden “conveyed his desire to welcome Sweden into NATO as soon as possible,” according to the White House.
The E.U. dismissed the idea of tying Sweden’s NATO bid to enlarging the E.U.
“You cannot link the two processes,” said Dana Spinant, a spokesperson for the European Commission.
A spokesperson for the National Security Council stated that the U.S. had “always supported” Turkey’s acceptance into the E.U.
Analysts have claimed that Turkey’s main focus was the completion of a $20 billion deal for American F-16 fighter jets, which was backed by the Biden administration but faced opposition on Capitol Hill.
“In reality, this is his [Erdogan] negotiating style,” said Asli Aydintasbas, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “He knows Turkey will not get into the EU. But he wants Europeans to also put something on the table — and match U.S. efforts to free up F-16 sales to Turkey.”
Anna Wieslander, director for Northern Europe at the Atlantic Council, said “it’s possible that Erdogan could be staging this so he could be the good guy, saving the summit by giving a unilateral green light.”
Hungary was the only other country to hold out against supporting Sweden’s bid. Analysts say they are now expected to follow Turkey in their decision to support.
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