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Turkey’s Parliament Finally Approves Sweden’s NATO Bid

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Hungary remains the only stumbling block to Sweden’s entry into NATO after the Turkish Parliament approved it. Public Domain

The Parliament in Turkey passed a bill on the approval of the ratification of the protocol on Sweden’s accession to NATO on Tuesday.

After a parliamentary session that lasted about four hours, the bill was approved by 287 out of 346 members of Parliament who participated in the vote.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) approved the bill, while the İYİ (Good) Party, Felicity Party (SP), and other parties opposed it.

Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson welcomed the approval with a statement on social media platform X: “Today we are one step closer to becoming a full member of NATO. Positive that the Grand General Assembly of Türkiye has voted in favor of Sweden’s NATO accession.

The United States also welcomed the approval. White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan wrote on X: “We welcome the Turkish parliament’s vote approving Sweden’s application to join @NATO. This has been an important priority for @POTUS. Sweden is a strong, capable defense partner whose membership in NATO will make the U.S. and the Alliance safer and stronger.”

“I greatly appreciate the Turkish Parliament’s decision to approve Sweden’s entry into NATO today,” U.S. Ambassador Jeff Flake said in a written statement on Tuesday. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the approval as well, saying: “I also count on Hungary to complete its national ratification as soon as possible.”

All NATO members need to approve applications from countries seeking to join the alliance.

Why Turkey objected to Sweden’s NATO bid

Turkey objected to Sweden and Finland’s 2022 membership request, accusing the countries of being too lenient toward groups that Ankara regards as threats to its security, including terrorist organizations of the PKK and FETÖ members that Ankara blames for a failed coup in 2016.

It endorsed Finland’s membership in April last year but, along with Hungary, had kept Sweden waiting. “We hope Finland and Sweden’s attitude towards fighting terrorism sets an example for our other allies,” Fuat Oktay, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission, said during the session.

The protocol must now undergo a vote in the entire 600-seat General Assembly. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will then need to sign it into law after Parliament has given its approval. Turkey’s ratification would leave Hungary as the only member state not to have approved Sweden’s accession yet.

Related: How Turkey and Sweden Complicate Sale of US F-35s to Greece

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