In a much-anticipated vote, the Turkish parliament has overwhelmingly ratified Sweden’s bid to join NATO.
This decision comes after a significant delay, but the outcome is a clear indication of support for Sweden’s membership.
Sweden expressed its desire to become a member in 2022 following Russia’s extensive invasion of Ukraine.
However, Turkey decided not to give its approval due to disagreements over what it perceived as Sweden’s support for Kurdish separatists.
The legislation is anticipated to be signed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson shared on social media that Sweden has made progress towards becoming a full member of Nato.
Sweden’s bid has not yet been ratified by Hungary either. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban extended an invitation to his Swedish counterpart to visit Budapest for discussions.
However, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom expressed his reluctance to engage in negotiations with Hungary at this time.
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed his satisfaction with Turkey’s vote and urged Hungary to swiftly complete its national ratification.
Turkey had been opposing Sweden’s application until July, when an agreement was reached. On Tuesday evening, lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favour of Swedish membership.
Turkey had expressed concerns about Sweden providing shelter to Kurdish militants and urged them to take stronger action against rebel groups such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey views as a terrorist organisation. The EU and US have also classified the PKK as a terrorist organisation.
Similar to any of Nato’s 31 member countries, Turkey has the authority to prevent new nations from becoming part of the group.
In June, Sweden implemented stricter anti-terrorism laws, which now prohibit providing any form of support, whether financial or logistical, to terrorist organisations.
Sweden and Finland, traditionally seen as militarily neutral, have recently expressed their desire to become members of NATO. This decision comes in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. Finland became a member in April.
Finland became a member of Nato in April, significantly increasing the length of the alliance’s border with Russia.