(Bloomberg) -- A key partner of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threw fresh doubt on NATO’s Nordic expansion after conditioning his support for Sweden’s accession on “permanent peace” between Israelis and Palestinians.
Devlet Bahceli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party whose support gives Erdogan a majority in parliament, said “we look coldly upon Sweden entering NATO,” the Turkgun newspaper reported in an interview on Friday.
The comments are the latest signal that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s enlargement could face further delays while a bill ratifying Sweden’s accession is stuck at the committee stage in the Turkish Parliament.
Erdogan’s ruling Justice & Development Party, or AKP, is demanding a written anti-terrorism road map from Stockholm before they send the bill for a vote. The AKP will ultimately need the support of Bahceli’s 50 members of parliament to pass it.
Sweden’s NATO Bid Risks Further Delay in Turkish Parliament
“If permanent peace is attained between Israel and Palestine and an independent Palestinian state is recognized, if Israel agrees to pay reparations and if Netanyahu stands trial at The Hague, we’d say OK to Sweden’s NATO membership,” the newspaper cited Bahceli as saying, referring to the Israeli prime minister.
Bahceli has repeatedly slammed Sweden over Koran burnings and alleged terrorist activities on its soil, but has stopped short of criticizing Erdogan for proceeding with the country’s NATO bid or threatening to break his alliance with the president.
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