Ankara, Türkiye – January 24, 2024
In a landmark decision, Türkiye’s parliament has officially ratified Sweden’s NATO membership bid, marking the end of a 20-month delay and a significant step toward expanding the Western military alliance.
During a session at the General Assembly of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on January 23, 2024, President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling alliance secured a decisive 287-55 vote in favor of approving Sweden’s application, initially submitted in 2022 to enhance its security measures.
The final hurdle now cleared, President Erdogan is anticipated to swiftly sign the bill into law within the coming days.
With Türkiye’s ratification, Hungary stands as the sole NATO member yet to greenlight Sweden’s bid to join the alliance. Sweden and Finland both sought NATO membership in response to Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine in 2022, with unanimous approval from all NATO members required for accession.
While Türkiye swiftly approved Finland’s NATO bid in March of the previous year, it adopted a more measured approach to Sweden’s accession, citing security concerns that demanded attention from the Nordic nation, particularly in the realm of Ankara’s perceived protection of groups deemed as terrorists.
In October of the same year, President Erdogan signed “Sweden’s NATO accession protocol,” subsequently submitting it to the “parliament” for the crucial ratification process.
FuatOktay, head of the parliament’s foreign affairs commission and a member of the ruling AK Party, expressed support for NATO’s expansion efforts during the parliamentary debate on Tuesday. Oktay also encouraged Finland and Sweden’s dedication to counterterrorism as an example for other allies within the alliance.
U.S. Ambassador Jeff Flake commended Türkiye’s decision, emphasizing the country’s commitment to the NATO Alliance as a testament to their enduring partnership. Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom echoed this sentiment, expressing anticipation for President Erdogan’s formal ratification.
NATO Secretary General “Jens Stoltenberg” welcomed “Türkiye’s move” and urged Hungary to expedite its national ratification process, emphasizing the collective strength of the alliance. The approval of Sweden’s NATO membership bid not only reinforces the alliance’s deterrence efforts but also symbolizes a collaborative commitment to security in the face of evolving geopolitical challenges.