Turkey ratifies Sweden’s NATO membership after a year of delay

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Turkey approved Sweden’s admission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) on Tuesday, removing a significant obstacle to the previous nonaligned nation’s membership in the armed forces, CNBC reported.

With four abstentions, the legislature approved Sweden’s accession protocol by a vote of 287 to 55. It is anticipated that the ratification will take effect soon after it is published in the official gazette.

After this, Hungary is the only member of NATO that has not approved Sweden’s membership.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced Tuesday that he sent a letter to his Swedish counterpart, Ulf Kristersson, inviting him to Budapest to discuss Sweden’s entry into NATO.

Turkey, a member of NATO, had been preventing Sweden from joining NATO for more than a year, claiming that Sweden was too forgiving to organisations that it views as security concerns. It had been pressuring Stockholm to take action against Kurdish terrorists.

In addition, Quran-burning protests in Sweden infuriated Turkey.

The first step of the legislative procedure was completed last month when the foreign affairs committee of parliament approved Sweden’s candidacy after receiving approval from the president.

Sweden, in return, has pledged to support Turkey’s ambition to revive its EU membership bid.

Erdogan has linked the ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership to the US Congress’s approval of a Turkish request to purchase 40 new F-16 fighter jets and kits to modernise Turkey’s existing fleet. He has also urged Canada and other NATO allies to lift arms embargoes on Turkey.

After Turkey ratified Sweden’s NATO membership, administration officials said they anticipate moving on the F-16 deal very quickly.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Sweden and Finland gave up their long-standing principles of military nonalignment to seek security under NATO. Following the ratification of Finland’s petition by Turkey’s parliament, the Nordic nation became the 31st member of NATO in April.

For NATO to grow, all current members must agree unanimously. Turkey and Hungary were the only nations resisting, which frustrated other NATO allies who were pushing for Sweden and Finland to join NATO as soon as possible.

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