Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s attempt to trade Sweden’s NATO bid for Turkey’s European Union membership was rebuffed by the European Parliament (EP) Tuesday, with a new report underlining that the two processes were unrelated. The European deputies called on the EU to start a reflection process to find an “alternative and realistic framework” in substitution for Turkey’s EU accession process.
The EP report urged Turkey “to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership in the Turkish Grand National Assembly as early as possible,” saying that delaying it would only play into Russia’s hands. EP members acknowledged measures taken by the Turkish authorities to prevent the re-exportation to Russia of goods covered by EU sanctions, but it urged them to go further to ensure that Turkey “stops being a hub for entities and individuals that wish to circumvent such sanctions.”
A press release on Tuesday from the EP Foreign Affairs Committee said EP members underlined that the NATO accession process of one country cannot be linked to the EU accession process of another. A parliamentary source told Al-Monitor that this was a new amendment to the report, implying that the wording came after Erdogan made the linkage between Sweden’s NATO bid and Turkey’s long-standing bid for EU membership.