NewsTurkey puts Sweden's NATO membership a step closer despite ongoing security concerns

Turkey puts Sweden's NATO membership a step closer despite ongoing security concerns

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Images source: © Getty Images | Anadolu
10:43 AM EST, December 27, 2023

The exact date of the plenary session which will ratify Sweden's membership in Turkey remains unknown.

Fuat Oktay, the head of the foreign affairs committee of the Turkish Parliament, suggested that a swift vote on this issue at the plenary session should not be anticipated. Nevertheless, as Reuters pointed out, the decision made by the Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday is a crucial advancement for Sweden's accession to the North Atlantic Alliance.

In late November, Stockholm announced that Ankara had pledged to ratify Sweden's NATO membership "in the coming weeks".

For several months, Turkey had been impeding Sweden's accession to NATO, asserting that Stockholm needs to do more in handling Kurdish fighters within its borders and other groups that Ankara perceives as threats to its national security.

Influenced by Russia's unlawful invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland lodged a historical application to join NATO in May 2022. Finland joined the alliance in April 2023.

Sweden remains in waiting as Turkey and Hungary cause delays

Among all the NATO members, Turkey and Hungary alone have not yet approved Sweden's membership in the North Atlantic Alliance. The leaders of these two countries, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Viktor Orban, maintain amicable relations with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.

Jens Stoltenberg, the head of the Alliance, has commented on Turkey's actions regarding Sweden's NATO membership. "I welcome the vote of the Turkish parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on the ratification of Sweden's NATO membership," he stated, urging Turkey and Hungary to finalize the ratification process "as quickly as possible".

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