ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Turkish Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee has approved… Sweden's bid to join NATO on Tuesday, bringing the previously non-aligned Scandinavian country closer to membership Western military alliance.
Sweden's accession protocol will now need to be approved by the General Assembly of the Turkish Parliament in the final stage of Turkey's legislative process. No date has been set.
Türkiye, a member of NATO, has Delayed ratification of Sweden's membership For more than a year, the country has been accused of being too lenient towards groups Ankara sees as threats to its security, including Kurdish militants and members of a network that Ankara accuses of masterminding a failed coup attempt in 2016.
Last month, the Turkish Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee began discussing Sweden's membership in NATO. But the meeting It has been postponed After lawmakers from Erdogan's ruling party put forward a motion to postpone on the grounds that some issues needed further clarification and that negotiations with Sweden were not “mature” enough.
On Tuesday, the committee resumed its deliberations and a large majority of lawmakers on the committee voted in favor of Sweden's application to join.
Briefing committee members before the vote, Deputy Foreign Minister Burak Akçabar pointed to steps Sweden has taken to meet Turkish demands, including lifting restrictions on sales of defense industries and amending anti-terrorism laws in ways that “no one can imagine for five or six years.” since.”
“It is unrealistic to expect the Swedish authorities to meet all our demands immediately. This is a process, and this process requires a consistent and long-term effort,” he said, adding that Turkey would continue to monitor Sweden’s progress.
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström welcomed the committee's decision regarding a message published on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
“The next step is for Parliament to vote on this issue. We are looking forward to becoming a member of NATO.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also welcomed the development, saying he was counting on Turkey and Hungary “to complete their ratification now as soon as possible.” Sweden's membership will make NATO stronger.
Hungary has it too Sweden's bid falteredAlleging that Swedish politicians told “blatant lies” about the state of democracy in Hungary. Hungary has not announced a possible date for ratification.
Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly linked this Ratification of Sweden's membership in NATO The US Congress approved a Turkish request to purchase 40 new F-16 fighter aircraft and equipment to modernize the current Turkish fleet.
Erdogan also called on Canada and other NATO allies to adhere to the arms embargo on Turkey.
The White House has supported the Turkish request for the F-16, but there… Opposition in Congress For military sales to Turkey.
Sweden and Finland abandoned their tradition Non-aligned military positions To seek protection under NATO's security umbrella, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Finland She joined the coalition in AprilIt became the thirty-first member of NATO, after the Turkish Parliament ratified the northern country's request.
NATO requires unanimous approval from all current members for expansion, and Turkey and Hungary are the only two countries that have held out.
These delays frustrated other NATO allies who were quick to accept Sweden and Finland into the alliance.
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