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Turkey unlikely to ratify Sweden’s NATO entry before October, says Erdogan

The comments clearly signal that the drama over Sweden’s accession is not over, and Turkey's push to overcome Congressional sanctions and acquire F-16 fighter jets remains the main sticking point.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends the opening high-level session of the 2023 NATO Summit on July 11, 2023 in Vilnius, Lithuania.

As NATO leaders continue to applaud Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his last minute U-turn greenlighting Sweden’s NATO membership during their ongoing summit in Vilnius, the Turkish strongman warned that his parliament was unlikely to ratify the Nordic nation’s accession before going into recess next week until Oct. 1.

“The parliament is not in session for the upcoming two months…but our target is to finalize this matter as swiftly as possible,” Erdogan told a news conference Wednesday.

Earlier his top adviser Ali Cagatay Kilic told Nikkei Asia, “It’s not like you push a button and the next day everything happens, so I don’t see it happening this week.” The comments are a clear sign that the drama over Sweden’s accession is not over and that Turkey’s push to overcome congressional sanctions and acquire F-16 fighter jets from the United States remains the main sticking point, sources familiar with months of back-channel diplomacy aimed at getting Turkey to approve Sweden’s membership told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity.

Yet only hours earlier, the deal seemed to be all but done as Erdogan and President Joe Biden met for more than an hour on the sidelines of the summit, oozing bonhomie before the cameras. Hinting at a possible invitation to the White House, Erdogan declared the meeting was “just a warm-up session” for further facetime with the US president. An equally effusive Biden told Erdogan, “I want to thank you for your diplomacy and your courage to take that on. And I want to thank you for your leadership.”

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