Turkey’s president has said his country will support Sweden’s bid to join Nato if the European Union opens membership talks for his country.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would state his demand at the Nato summit in Lithuania later this week.
He added that he had informed US President Joe Biden of his intentions.
Mr Erdogan’s comments come ahead of a meeting with Sweden’s prime minister and Nato’s secretary general in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.
Turkey is a Nato member and so has a veto over any new country joining the group.
It has previously expressed frustration at what it has seen as Stockholm’s willingness to host Kurdish militants.
Mr Erdogan recently said Sweden had taken steps in the right direction by changing anti-terror laws, but that he still had some complaints.
Hungary has also stalled on backing the Swedish bid, but said it will not delay the process if Turkey shifts its stance.
The head of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Monday that it was still possible to have a “positive decision” during the two-day conference.
He added that Sweden joining Nato would “strengthen our ability to defend and protect not least the Baltic region”.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, meanwhile, has dismissed Mr Erdogan’s idea of a reciprocal agreement.
“Sweden meets all the requirements for Nato membership,” he told reporters in Berlin. “The other question is one that is not connected with it.”
A spokeswoman for the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, said membership to the bloc could only be granted by following procedure.
“The European Union has a very structured process of enlargement and a very, very clear set of steps that need to be taken by all candidate countries and even by those that wish to become candidate countries,” said Dana Spinant.
Sweden joined Finland in launching a bid to become a Nato member more than a year ago, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Finland became the 31st member of the alliance in April after Turkey withdrew objections similar to those it has to Sweden’s application.
Ankara’s bid to join the EU has been frozen for years. Members voted to suspend talks on the issue in 2016 over Turkey’s crackdown on opponents following a failed coup attempt in the same year.
However, relations have improved since then, with the EU relying on Turkey’s help over issues including migration.
Source : BBC