According to his office, President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has submitted a bill for Sweden’s NATO membership bid to parliament for ratification.
This bring NATO membership within Sweden’s reach.
A brief statement from the presidential communications directorate said Erdogan had signed the protocol on Sweden’s NATO accession, which was then submitted to the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
The presidency did not provide further details.
Sweden and its Finland renounced military nonalignment and applied to join NATO last year after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Finland’s membership was sealed in April, marking a historic expansion of the alliance. However, Sweden’s bid has been held up by Turkey and Hungary.
It is a must for all 31 NATO member countries to endorse Sweden’s membership before it can join the bloc. Turkey and Hungary are the only two allies that have yet to ratify it.
Erdogan had been delaying ratification of Sweden’s membership, accusing Stockholm of being too soft on Kurdish militants and other groups he considers to be security threats.
Turkey has previously said Sweden must take more steps at home to clamp down on the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK).
Turkey was also incensed by a series of Quran-burning protests in Sweden.
Turkey lifted its opposition after U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration signaled it would let Turkey buy 40 new F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits from the United States.
Ankara also received assurances from Sweden that it would help revive Turkey’s own quest to join the European Union.
Under the deal, NATO as an organization agreed to address Turkey’s concerns about terrorism. Stoltenberg said he had appointed an assistant secretary general to serve as his special coordinator for counter-terrorism.
Earlier this month, NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg urged Turkey to quickly ratify Sweden’s membership in the military organization.
“Many allies would like to see speedy progress on this ratification,” Stoltenberg told a news agency after chairing a meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels.
“Sweden has delivered on what they promised, and now we need the ratification of Swedish membership,” Stoltenberg added.
Sweden Looks Forward To Joining The Alliance
As expected, Sweden welcomed Erdogan’s decision.
“Glad to hear that Turkish President Erdoğan has now handed over the ratification documents to the Turkish Parliament,” Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson noted on X.
Kristersson added, “Now it remains for Parliament to deal with the issue. We look forward to becoming a member of NATO.”