ANKARA — The Turkish Parliament’s foreign affairs committee convened on Thursday to discuss Sweden’s bid to join NATO, marking a pivotal moment in the diplomatic tug-of-war between the two nations. However, the proceedings were abruptly adjourned, leaving the fate of Sweden’s NATO membership hanging in the balance.
The debate, which had been eagerly anticipated, came to an unexpected halt as legislators from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) submitted a motion to postpone the decision. The grounds cited for the delay included the need for further clarification on certain issues and the assertion that negotiations with Sweden had not yet “matured” to a satisfactory level.
Committee chairman Fuat Oktay later addressed reporters, indicating that the Swedish ambassador might be invited to the next session to provide additional information on the steps Sweden has taken to address Turkey’s security concerns.
NATO’s expansion requires unanimous approval from all existing members, and Turkey, along with Hungary, has been the primary holdout. Hungary has also delayed Sweden’s bid, alleging that Swedish politicians have spread “blatant lies” about the state of Hungary’s democracy.
Turkish Parliament speaker Numan Kurtulmus conveyed his hopes for a swift conclusion to the legislative process during a recent video conference with his Swedish counterpart Andreas Norlen.