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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Turkey finally gives the green light to Sweden’s NATO membership request after a prolonged wait


ANKARA – Turkey’s parliament has ​finally approved Sweden’s NATO membership bid, marking a significant step in‍ expanding ⁣the Western military alliance after months of delays. ⁤The approval came after more than four hours of debate, with President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party, its nationalist MHP⁣ allies, and the main⁤ opposition CHP ⁣voting in favor of the bid in the general ‍assembly.

Sweden’s application for ‌NATO membership was ​first made in 2022 following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and the ​move​ to approve it comes at a critical ‌time for ‌the ⁣alliance. Once ⁣parliament has ratified the move, Erdogan is expected⁣ to sign it into law within days, leaving Hungary as the​ only‌ member state not to⁢ have approved Sweden’s accession.

Sweden’s ⁢membership in NATO⁢ would enhance‍ the alliance’s defenses in the⁣ Baltic Sea region, marking a historic shift in its ⁢security policy. ‍However, Turkey’s delays in approving the bid have frustrated‍ some of its Western allies and enabled it to extract ⁢some concessions.

Delays and Concessions

When Sweden and Finland asked to‌ join NATO in 2022, Turkey raised ⁣objections over what it ⁢said was‌ the ‌two‌ countries’ protection of groups that Ankara deems ⁤terrorists. It​ endorsed Finland’s membership in April last year but,⁢ along with Hungary, has kept Sweden waiting. ⁢Ankara had urged Stockholm to⁣ toughen its stance on‌ local members of ⁤the⁤ Kurdistan​ Workers’ Party, which the European​ Union and the United States ⁣also deem a terrorist ‌group.

In response, Stockholm introduced a new anti-terrorism bill ​that makes being a ‌member‍ of ⁣a terrorist organization illegal. Additionally, Sweden,​ Finland, ⁤Canada, and the Netherlands took​ steps⁣ to relax‍ Turkey’s arms-export policies. Erdogan, who sent Sweden’s‍ bid​ to parliament in October, has linked Sweden’s ratification to U.S. approval of sales of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.

The White House backs⁢ the sale,⁤ and some analysts expect a deal to swiftly follow Turkey’s ratification of Sweden’s bid. ⁤However, there is‍ no clear time frame for the ‌U.S. Congress ⁤to approve it, and Turkey faces ​some congressional opposition over delaying NATO enlargement and its human ‍rights record.

Turkey’s general assembly ‌convened​ at‍ 3 p.m. local time, with Sweden‌ among the ⁣first of several ‍matters to be debated. Parliament’s foreign affairs commission approved the bid⁢ last month, with ⁣Erdogan’s ruling AK⁤ Party, nationalist allies⁢ MHP, ​and main opposition CHP backing it. Opposition nationalist ‍and Islamist parties rejected it.

With the approval ⁤of Sweden’s NATO membership bid, the⁢ Western military alliance is set ‍to expand, strengthening⁣ its​ presence in the Baltic⁣ Sea ‌region and marking a significant⁣ shift⁢ in Sweden’s ​security policy.

Truth Media Network
Truth Media Network
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  1. Agree: Finally! Turkey’s approval of Sweden’s NATO membership is a step in the right direction for strengthening the alliance’s capabilities and ensuring regional stability.

  2. Agree: This is a significant milestone for NATO and will contribute to the overall strength and stability of the alliance.


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