NATO SUMMIT: Stoltenberg and Scholz disappointed by Erdogan's new demand
NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg and German chancellor Olaf Scholz are unhappy with demands from Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan before agreeing to Sweden's accession to NATO.
Sweden has fulfilled the "specific list of conditions", Stoltenberg said. Scholz said Sweden's accession and accession negotiations between Turkey and the European Union are "not linked".
On Monday, on the eve of the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, Erdogan set out a new demand. "First, pave the way for Turkey's accession to the European Union, and then we will pave the way for Sweden," he said.
"First, pave the way for Turkey's accession to the European Union, and then we will pave the way for Sweden"
However, Stoltenberg said Sweden had fulfilled all Turkey's conditions for NATO membership and that Turkey must honour the security interests of other member states. "It is still possible to get a positive decision on Sweden's membership," Stoltenberg said ahead of a scheduled meeting between Erdogan and Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson.
Scholz also believes Sweden meets all the conditions for joining NATO. "I hope that we will soon succeed in making Sweden a member of NATO," he said.
Turkey and Hungary have been blocking Sweden's accession for months. Erdogan also said he expects a visit by Russian president Vladimir Putin to Turkey in August.
Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg and Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson © REUTERS