Turkish Parliament ratifies Sweden's membership in NATO

Pressed by the allies, the Turkish president gave his agreement in July to Sweden’s accession to NATO

Turkish Parliament ratifies Sweden's membership in NATO

Pressed by the allies, the Turkish president gave his agreement in July to Sweden’s accession to NATO. A commitment now ratified. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Turkish Parliament approved Sweden's NATO accession protocol on Tuesday, December 26, after nineteen months of suspense, opposition MP Utku told Agence France-Presse Cakirozer (Republican People's Party, CHP).

The text of the agreement must now be transmitted to the Plenary National Assembly for the final adoption of the Scandinavian country into the Atlantic Alliance, on a date which was not immediately specified.

Turkey was the last member of the Atlantic Alliance with Hungary to block Sweden's path, multiplying demands and pretexts to justify its reluctance.

Counterterrorism

A decision immediately welcomed by Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström: “We are delighted to become a member of NATO,” he declared on the public television site SVT Nyheter.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also “welcomed” the vote on Tuesday. “I count on [Turkey and Hungary] to complete their ratification procedures as quickly as possible” on Sweden’s membership, “which will make NATO stronger,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.

Sweden had submitted its application at the same time as Finland – admitted in April – after the start of the war led by Russia in Ukraine.

“We are seeing a change in Sweden's policy, some decisions adopted by the courts,” Fuat Oktay, a deputy from the ruling AKP party and chairman of the Swedish Foreign Affairs Committee, remarked on Monday on private channel NTV. Turkish Parliament. “We still had some requests for additional progress” in the fight against terrorism, he added without further details.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has objected since the start of the process to Stockholm's supposed leniency towards certain Kurdish groups that he considers terrorists.

Sale of F-16 fighter jets

Above all, it seems that after a long silence from Washington, a telephone interview in mid-December with the American President, Joe Biden, finally overcame Mr. Erdogan's reluctance.

Announced as a simple formality in November, including by Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, who spoke of "a few weeks", the examination of the accession protocol collapsed after a single meeting.

At the beginning of December, Mr. Erdogan added as a condition to Ankara's ratification the "simultaneous" ratification by the American Congress of the sale of F-16 fighter planes to Turkey. “This is all linked,” he warned.

Turkey had already played this card to try to obtain American authorization for the sale of F-16s, which it needs to modernize its air force. The American government is not hostile to this sale but Congress has blocked it so far for political reasons, which are linked to tensions between Turkey and Greece – also a member of NATO – but Ankara is recently moved closer to Athens.