Scholz, speaking to Germany’s parliament, said he is “firmly convinced that Sweden should sit at the summit table as a new ally alongside Finland” when NATO leaders meet in Vilnius next month.
“But NATO membership for Ukraine is out of the question while the war continues,” he said.
He told German lawmakers that he’s asking newly re-elected Turkish President , Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to drop his objections to Sweden joining the alliance as NATO countries unanimously agreed at last year’s summit in Madrid.
Erdoğan had repeatedly accused Sweden of not taking action against “terrorist organisations,” an apparent reference to mostly Kurdish political groups from Turkey.
The group operated in exile in the country but also more widely to supporters of a failed coup against Erdoğan in 2016.
Sweden had recently tightened its terrorism laws and the country’s supreme court approved the first extradition to Turkey of an alleged supporter of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
NATO membership for Ukraine, however, was off the table until the end of Russia’s war against the country, Scholz said.
NATO’s principles for enlargement excluded countries involved in an active conflict.
Georgia and Moldova, which had disputed Russian separatist regions, had also been excluded for this reason.
The conflict in Ukraine started with a Moscow-backed uprising in the Donbass region in 2014 before Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.
Until the end of Russia’s war, Scholz said on Thursday, NATO countries needed to focus on aiding Ukraine by building up its military and defence capabilities. (dpa/NAN)