Turkey first applied for membership in the European Union's predecessor in 1987 and was granted candidate status in 1999. However, Turkey is still not a member, partly because the EU does not consider democracy in the country to be sufficiently functional.
The EU recently completed its latest report on Turkey's application process, which concludes that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan still does not meet the requirements for membership.
According to Reuters, The report criticizes Turkey for a "serious regression" in democratic standards, rule of law, human rights, and judicial independence.
Turkey and Erdoğan disagree with the EU's conclusions. The Turkish Foreign Ministry, speaking on behalf of the President, categorically rejects these unfounded claims and unfair criticism, particularly regarding political criteria and the section on the judiciary and fundamental rights.
The EU Commission points out that Turkey, in its fight against terrorism, does not adhere to the EU's standards for legal principles or fundamental freedoms, including human rights. The Turkish government describes this as insincerity in the EU's approach and clear double standards.
In the summer, Erdoğan stated that Turkey would not approve Sweden's NATO application until the EU greenlights Turkey's membership in the European community.
He highlighted that almost all NATO countries are also EU members and that Turkey has been waiting at the EU's doorstep for over 50 years.
He suggested that the path for Turkey's EU membership should be opened first, then Turkey would open the way for Sweden, as it did for Finland.
Recently, the Swedish government broke its silence on Turkey's EU demands. They announced that Sweden views positively Turkey's desire to join the EU and will facilitate its membership. However, this also requires reforms in Turkey, as in other countries, according to EU Minister Jessika Roswall.