Turkey’s Parliament Approves Sweden’s NATO Membership

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Last April, Turkey endorsed Finland and Hungary’s NATO membership bid but kept Sweden waiting. Just this January, Turkey’s parliament has finally approved Sweden’s NATO membership bid after more than four hours of debates.

The vote which came in late on Tuesday paved the way for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to give Turkey’s seal of approval on Nato membership for Sweden, which then dropped its centuries-old policy of military non-alignment after the war between Russia and Ukraine.

In the coming days, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to sign the bill into law, thus ending the 20-month-long delay that has frustrated some of Ankara’s Western allies.

After the vote, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said that Stockholm was “one step closer” to joining the alliance. “Positive that the Grand General Assembly of Turkey has voted in favour of Sweden’s NATO accession,” the Prime Minister wrote on the X platform.

Turkey’s approval of Sweden makes Hungary the last holdout in an accession process, which Sweden and neighbouring Finland began in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine almost two years ago.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he invited Kristersson, for a visit to negotiate his country joining the military alliance.

As at last April, Finland became the 31st member of the alliance and Its membership roughly doubled the length of NATO’s border with Russia and substantially strengthened the defences of three small Baltic nations that joined the bloc following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Lithuania’s president, Gitanas Nausėda, said Nordic and Baltic leaders especially welcomed the ratification as strengthening of regional security. “Sweden’s Nato membership will be a significant step towards a safer Baltic Sea region and stronger alliance.”

Sweden and Finland jointly pursued a policy of military non-alignment during the Cold War-era between Russia and the United States. However, Russia’s invasion of its western neighbour ended up turning geopolitical calculations upside down.

Erdoğan promised to approve accession last July, but the process has been plagued by delays, which have put a wedge between Ankara and its western allies. Ankara has undoubtedly profited from maintaining, and even expanding trade with Russia while supplying Ukraine with drones and other essential arms at the same time.

Both Sweden’s military chief and prime minister have directly warned Swedes to be prepared for war this year; a warning that has drawn admiration from some, and criticism from others for fear-mongering.

Finland, which shares a 1,340km border with Russia, joined Nato last April and became the group’s 31st member, and Erdogan’s resistance to Sweden’s NATO accession clearly reflects his more nuanced stance towards Moscow. He is also one of the few NATO leaders to hold regular meetings and phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Report has it that Putin could make his first wartime visit to Turkey next month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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