Turkish President Erdogan Approves Sweden's NATO Bid, Paving the Way for Alliance Membership

Turkish President Erdogan Approves Swedens NATO Bid, Paving the Way for Alliance Membership

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan submitted a bill approving Sweden's NATO membership bid to parliament on Monday, clearing the way for Sweden to join the Western defense alliance. The bill will now be reviewed by the foreign affairs commission before being formally ratified by the general assembly. Turkey's Speaker of Parliament, Numan Kurtulmus, expressed hope that the bill will be brought to the general assembly in a timely manner. Finland's NATO membership was ratified earlier this year, but Sweden's bid had been held up by Turkey and Hungary.

Hungary's Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, stated that Hungary will make a sovereign decision regarding the ratification of Sweden's NATO bid. Turkey has previously raised objections to Sweden's alleged harboring of individuals Turkey considers to be members of terrorist groups. However, with the bill now submitted, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed anticipation for a quick vote and looked forward to welcoming Sweden as an ally soon. The United States also welcomed Turkey's move, as approval of Sweden's NATO bid is linked to Turkey's request for U.S. congressional approval for a $20 billion sale of F-16 jets and modernization kits.

Sweden's Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, welcomed the bill and expressed that it is now up to parliament to deal with the question of membership. The bill is expected to be passed in parliament once it is submitted to the general assembly, but a specific timeframe for the vote has not been set. Turkey has the second-largest army in NATO, and analysts believe that the bill will pass in parliament, barring a negative stance from Erdogan. Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO last year after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Finland's membership was sealed in April, but Sweden's bid had been delayed until now.

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