Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone call with US President Joe Biden in which they discussed Sweden’s NATO bid, the Turkish presidency’s communications directorate said on Sunday.
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Erdogan told Biden that Stockholm has taken steps in the right direction for Ankara to ratify its bid, referring to an anti-terrorism law, but that these steps were not useful as Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) supporters continued to hold demonstrations in Sweden.
The White House said on Sunday that Biden expressed a desire to see Sweden join NATO “as soon as possible” during the phone call.
“The leaders agreed to meet face-to-face in Vilnius and discuss bilateral relations and regional issues in detail,” the presidency also said.
On Thursday, Sweden failed to convince Turkey to lift its block on Stockholm’s path to NATO membership in a foreign minister-level meeting, as Ankara requested more action in the fight against terrorism.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he would convene a meeting between Erdogan and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Vilnius on Monday.
Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership last year, abandoning policies of military non-alignment that had lasted through the decades of the Cold War in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Bids to join the alliance must be approved by all NATO members, and while Finland’s was green-lighted in April, Turkey and Hungary have yet to clear Sweden’s bid. Stockholm has been working to join at next week’s NATO summit in Vilnius.
The two leaders also discussed the delivery of F-16 fighter jets and Ukraine’s status in NATO on their call, according to the presidency’s readout.
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