Turkish parliament approves Sweden’s NATO accession

Turkey’s parliament on Tuesday voted in favour of Sweden’s accession to NATO, clearing a long-standing hurdle for the Nordic country to join the Western military alliance.

Turkish approval leaves Hungary as the only NATO member yet to ratify Sweden’s accession.

Every NATO member needs to give the green light for Sweden to be able to join.

The threat of further Russian aggression in light of the war in Ukraine had pushed Sweden and Finland to ask to join NATO. Finland joined in April last year, but Sweden’s bid has been less straightforward.

Erdoğan had tied his country’s approval to US delivery of F-16 fighter jets, among others. The US Congress has yet to approve the jet sales to Turkey.

Turkey has been delaying the ratification for more than a year due to Stockholm’s alleged support to groups Ankara labels as “terrorists” – primarily referring to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

In October, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked the parliament to start the voting process on Sweden after Stockholm tightened its anti-terrorism legislation.

As far as Turkey is concerned, the uncertainty has been brought to an end by the vote in parliament, where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamic-conservative AKP, in alliance with the ultra-nationalists, has a majority.

The vote needs to be published on the Official Gazette with Erdoğan’s signature on it for the decision to be officially final.

Earlier on Tuesday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said he had sent a letter inviting his Swedish counterpart, Ulf Kristersson, to discuss Sweden’s NATO membership bid.

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