NewsTurkey greenlights Sweden's NATO membership, leaving Hungary as last hurdle

Turkey greenlights Sweden's NATO membership, leaving Hungary as last hurdle

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Viktor Orban
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Viktor Orban
Images source: © East News | ATTILA KISBENEDEK
3:04 PM EST, January 25, 2024

The Turkish parliament endorsed Sweden's accession during a vote held on Tuesday. The ruling party cited the Nordic country's firmer stance towards Kurdish fighters as pivotal to its agreement. Conversely, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan previously linked the ratification to potentially purchasing F-16 fighters from the United States.

For over a year, Turkey, as a NATO member, has delayed Sweden's admission into NATO, citing excessive leniency towards groups perceived as a security threat by Ankara. Among its demands were concessions from Stockholm, including active measures against Kurdish fighters.

Turkey was further aggravated by a series of protests in Sweden by supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and incidents where the Quran was burnt.

When is Hungary expected to make a decision?

Hungary is currently the only country that hasn't approved Sweden's accession to NATO as the alliance's 32nd member. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Viktor Orban asked the Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, to discuss this issue.

Kristersson responded to Orban by saying he would visit Budapest at a convenient time for both leaders. He also noted the upcoming European Council meeting in Brussels on February 1 as another potential meeting opportunity.

Hungary has consistently asserted it will not be the last member to approve Sweden's entrance into NATO.

Source: AP/PAP

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