Turkey moves to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023 at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Sweden’s prospective NATO membership moved one step closer on Monday evening after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed the protocol on the Scandinavian nation’s accession to the defense alliance and submitted the bill to the Turkish parliament.

A statement posted on the Presidential Communications Directorate’s social media account read, “Our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed and submitted the Protocol on Sweden’s accession to NATO to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on Oct. 23, 2023.”

Finland and Sweden submitted their applications to join NATO last spring, shortly after the outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian war. Their accession requires unanimity among current NATO member states.

After a long period of wrangling, Finland was finally admitted on April 4, 2023. So far, Swedish membership has been ratified by all NATO members except Turkey and Hungary, both of whom have held out for their own reasons. Stockholm is now one step closer to Ankara’s signature.

Hungary has been reluctant to ratify Sweden’s membership due to accusations by Hungarian government officials that Sweden has been biased in its criticism of Hungarian democracy.

“There has been absolutely no basis for trust in Swedish politics, especially on the left, in recent years. On the contrary, it has been in the vanguard when it comes to attacking Hungary, and I have not seen any gestures since then to show that, if they were to join NATO with our approval, they would indeed regard us as an equal ally and not as a lackey,” Hungarian Speaker of the House László Kövér, one of the key figures in Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s ruling Fidesz party, said in an interview last month.

Kövér also said that the profound geopolitical impact of Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership should have merited a deeper debate.

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