Turkish parliament approves Sweden’s NATO membership bid

ANKARA, TURKIYE - JANUARY 23: A general view of the Turkish parliament during the voting session on the bill regarding Sweden's accession protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Ankara, Turkiye on January 23, 2024. Turkish parliament approved Sweden's membership of NATO. (Photo by Metin Aktas/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The Turkish parliament votes on the bill regarding Sweden’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Ankara on January 23.Metin Aktas/Anadolu/Getty ImagesCNN — 

The Turkish parliament voted Tuesday to approve Sweden’s NATO membership bid, bringing the Nordic country one step closer to joining the military alliance after months of delays.

Of the 346 members of parliament who voted, 287 were in favor of Sweden’s accession and 55 voted to reject it. Four others abstained from voting.

The vote was the second step of Turkey’s ratification process after the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission approved the bid last month. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can now sign the protocol into law.

The outcome on Tuesday cleared a significant hurdle for the Nordic country’s accession into the military alliance, with Hungary now set to be the only member state that has not yet ratified Sweden’s accession.

However, on Tuesday, Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban said he had invited his Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson to visit Hungary to negotiate the terms of Sweden’s accession.

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in May 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier that year. Finland joined NATO in April 2023, doubling the alliance’s border with Russia, but Sweden has faced numerous delays in its path to accession.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year press conference and the Direct Line question and answer session, at Gostiny Dvor Exhibition Centre in Moscow, Russia December 14, 2023. Sputnik/Alexander Kazakov/Pool via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

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Erdogan initially objected to Sweden’s membership bid, accusing Swedish officials of being too lenient on militant groups, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Since applying, Sweden has tightened its anti-terror legislation and agreed to work more closely with Turkey on security concerns.

Erdogan’s approval of Sweden’s accession bid also rides on a commitment by the United States, with the Turkish president signaling that he won’t sign the protocol into law unless the US approves the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Ben Cardin said on Tuesday that Congress, however, is waiting to see the accession documents completed before moving forward on the matter.

Following Tuesday’s Turkish parliamentary vote, Swedish Prime Minister Kristersson said Sweden was “one step closer to becoming a full member of NATO.”

The US Ambassador to Turkey Jeffry Flake reiterated the sentiment in a post on X, saying “Sweden’s accession to NATO is a critical step in strengthening the alliance” and that he “greatly appreciate the Turkish’s parliament’s decision to approve Sweden’s entry into NATO.”

The German government welcomed the outcome of the Turkish parliamentary vote. The federal government https://terserahapapun.com spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit said in a statement that Finland’s accession last April and Sweden’s “forthcoming accession” were a “direct reaction to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.”

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