President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday that Turkey would not be able to ratify Sweden’s NATO candidacy until at least October because parliament is not in session, Agence France-Presse reported.
“There is a two-month parliament holiday. Of course, it will not be possible to end this holiday before October,” Erdoğan told reporters at the conclusion of a two-day NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.
“There are many international agreements, there are many legislative proposals that need to be discussed. We take them up in the order of importance. But our goal is to finish this process as soon as possible,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan’s comments threatened to both disappoint and worry Swedish and NATO officials.
Some Western leaders had hoped that Turkey would be able to finish the ratification process in the coming weeks.
The Turkish leader agreed on Monday to allow Sweden to join the US-led alliance after resisting the candidacy for more than a year.
Erdoğan was particularly angered by protests at which anti-Islamic figures burned pages from the Quran.
Sweden has amended its constitution and tightened its anti-terror legislation in response to pressure from Erdoğan.
But it still permits protests at which people have burned the Islamic holy book.
Turkey had been holding up Sweden’s application to join the Atlantic alliance, accusing Stockholm of harboring Kurdish activists and political dissidents Ankara regards as terrorists.
Erdoğan gave a green light to Sweden’s entry to the alliance following a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Vilnius one day before the start of the NATO summit there.