Türkiye takes first step towards approving Sweden NATO bid News
Wikimedia (U.S. Department of State)
Türkiye takes first step towards approving Sweden NATO bid

The Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee approved Sweden’s NATO membership on Tuesday. This is the first step in Türkiye’s process to full approval, which entails submission to the General Assembly of the Turkish Parliament, followed by ratification from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Upon successful ratification, Hungary will be the final NATO member to approve Sweden’s bid to join the alliance.

In 2022, following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership, marking a significant departure from their historically neutral stance on military involvement. Türkiye withheld its approval for Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership, demanding a firmer stance against terror organizations. In 2022 memorandum, Sweden and Finland acceded to Turkish demands.

Subsequently, Finland, embarking on this new trajectory, secured its position as the 31st member state of NATO in April, following the ratification of its bid by the Turkish Parliament.

In order to gain membership, Sweden enacted legislation in 2022 aimed at facilitating the prosecution of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an organization accused by Türkiye of involvement in the 2016 attempted coup against Erdoğan’s government. Erdoğan specified that the extradition of 130 alleged Kurdish terrorists from Sweden and Finland was imperative for the Turkish Parliament to ratify their accession into NATO.

To gain NATO membership, countries require unanimous approval from every existing member nation. NATO principles are built on the 1949 Washington treaty that derives authority from UN Charter’s Article 51 that affirms right of independent states for individual or collective defense.

Russian media linked Sweden’s application approval with the US Congress’s decision to sell F-16 fighters to Türkiye. In 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned that, even though the entry of Sweden and Finland into the alliance does not pose a threat to Russia, expansion of military infrastructure in the region will provoke a reaction from Russia and will make the situation in the region worse.