Turkish parliament ratifies Sweden’s bid to join NATO

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ANKARA: The Turkish Parliament on Tuesday (local time) voted to approve Sweden’s NATO membership bid, bringing the Nordic country one step closer to joining the military alliance after months of delays, CNN reported.

Out of the 346 MPs who voted, 287 were in favour of Sweden’s accession and 55 voted to reject it. Four others abstained from voting.

The vote was the second step of Turkey’s ratification process after the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission approved the bid last month. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can now sign the protocol into law.

Even after a significant hurdle has been cleared for the Nordic country’s accession into the military alliance, Hungary remains the only member state that has not yet ratified Sweden’s accession, CNN reported.

However, on Tuesday, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban said he had invited his Swedish counterpart, Ulf Kristersson, to visit Hungary to negotiate the terms of Sweden’s accession.

Notably, Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in May 2022, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier that year. Finland joined NATO in April 2023, doubling the alliance’s border with Russia, but Sweden has faced numerous delays in its path to accession.

Erdogan initially objected to Sweden’s membership bid, accusing Swedish officials of being “too lenient” on militant groups, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Since applying, Sweden has tightened its anti-terror legislation and agreed to work more closely with Turkey on security concerns, as reported by CNN.

Meanwhile, Erdogan’s approval of Sweden’s accession bid also rides on a commitment by the United States, with the Turkish president signalling that he won’t sign the protocol into law unless the US approves the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Ben Cardin said on Tuesday that Congress, however, is waiting to see the accession documents completed before moving forward on the matter. (ANI)

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