Turkish Parliament approves Sweden’s NATO membership despite ongoing tensions

ANKARA — Turkish Members of Parliament voted in favor of ratifying Sweden’s bid to join NATO, signaling a significant step forward in Sweden’s journey towards membership in the defensive military alliance. The long-delayed vote was finally resolved as Turkey, previously withholding approval, gave the green light, leaving Hungary as the only NATO member yet to ratify Sweden’s accession.

Sweden had submitted its application to join NATO in 2022, following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Turkey’s objection to Sweden’s NATO membership was primarily centered around allegations of Sweden providing refuge to Kurdish militants. Turkey insisted on stricter measures against rebel groups like the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Sweden addressed these concerns by introducing tougher anti-terrorism laws in June, making it illegal to provide financial or logistical support to terrorist groups.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is anticipated to sign the legislation in the coming days, solidifying Sweden’s path to NATO membership. Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson expressed his satisfaction on social media, stating, “Today, we are one step closer to becoming a full member of NATO.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised Turkey’s decision and urged Hungary to expedite its national ratification process, stating, “I am counting on Hungary to complete its national ratification as soon as possible.”