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Turkiye: parliament approves Sweden’s NATO membership

January 24, 2024 at 12:07 pm

A general view of the Turkish Grand National Assembly as deputies cast their votes for the Turkiye’s new parliament speaker in Ankara, Turkiye on June 07, 2023 [Özge Elif Kızıl/Anadolu Agency]

The Turkish parliament approved a bill yesterday giving the green light for Sweden’s accession protocol to NATO, Anadolu has reported. The bill was approved by 287 of the parliament’s 346 members who participated in the vote. Fifty-five MPs voted against the bill, and four abstained.

Finland and Sweden – both of which are geographically close to or bordering Russia – applied for NATO membership soon after Moscow launched its war against Ukraine in February 2022.

“We welcome the Turkish parliament’s vote approving Sweden’s application to join @NATO,” said Jake Sullivan, US President Joe Biden’s national security advisor, on X. “This has been an important priority for [the president]. Sweden is a strong, capable defence partner whose membership in NATO will make the US and the Alliance safer and stronger.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom described the Turkish parliament’s approval as a “welcome step” in the accession process. “Now we look forward to [Turkish] President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signing the ratification document. Sweden will be a reliable, solidary and committed NATO member,” he said on X.

The “strengthening” of NATO by Sweden’s membership was also mentioned by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the foreign ministry in Berlin. “It is now high time for Hungary to conclude the remaining steps so that we can welcome our Swedish friends to the Alliance,” added the ministry.

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib echoed these sentiments, emphasising the collective effort required for European security.

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