Turkey Submits Sweden's NATO Bid
Sweden One Step Closer To NATO Membership
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made a significant move by submitting Sweden's bid to join NATO to Turkey's parliament for the first time. This development comes at a time when global attention has shifted from the Russia-Ukraine conflict to the Israel-Gaza war, and it marks a substantial step forward for Sweden's entrance into the alliance.
According to a statement by the Turkish presidency on social media, President Erdogan signed the Protocol on Sweden's NATO Accession on October 23, 2023, and it has now been referred to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. This move is a departure from Turkey's previous stance, as Erdogan's government has been vocal in blocking Sweden's bid, citing concerns over the presence of "terrorists" within the country.
The large Kurdish population in Sweden has often organized anti-Turkey protests and political movements, leading to Turkey's reservations.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson expressed his enthusiasm for this development, warmly welcoming President Erdogan's signature and submission of Sweden's ratification protocol to NATO. Prime Minister Kristersson stated that parliamentary procedures will now commence, and Sweden is eagerly anticipating its membership in the alliance.
Hungary has been another country resistant to approving Sweden's NATO bid. This reluctance stems from a diplomatic spat between Sweden and Hungary over criticism of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government, which is seen as being too close to Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin. However, similar to Finland's case, it is expected that Hungary will follow suit and approve Sweden's bid now that Turkey has dropped its objections. The Hungarian foreign ministry announced on Tuesday that the country will make a "sovereign decision" on this contentious issue.
In recent times, Sweden has taken steps to address Turkey's concerns. Last spring, the Swedish government agreed to extradite Turkish nationals who are wanted by the Erdogan government. Ankara has pushed for stricter measures on this matter, and Sweden has shown a willingness to cooperate, despite initially emphasizing the importance of safeguarding individual rights.
With Turkey's submission of Sweden's NATO bid to its parliament, the prospect of Stockholm's membership in the alliance has become closer than ever. As the world continues to navigate various geopolitical challenges, the addition of Sweden to NATO would undoubtedly have significant implications for the alliance and the region as a whole.