Sweden on brink of finally joining NATO as Erdogan signs accession protocol

Sweden has moved closer to finally joining NATO after a major hurdle was removed today (October 23).

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has previously been reluctant to approve Sweden’s bid to join NATO.

But today, he signed a bill for the Nordic country’s admission into NATO and sent it to the Turkish parliament for approval, Erdogan said today.

Erdogan had been accusing Stockholm of being too soft on Kurdish militants and other groups he considered security threats.

Turkey also was angered by a series of Quran-burning protests in Sweden.

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All 31 NATO allies must endorse Sweden’s membership. Turkey and Hungary are the only two allies that have yet to ratify it.

The presidential office of Turkey said Erdogan had signed the protocol on Sweden’s accession and submitted it to the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson wrote on X: “Glad to hear that Turkish President Erdoğan has now handed over the ratification documents to the Turkish Parliament.

“Now it remains for Parliament to deal with the issue. We look forward to becoming a member of NATO.”

Sweden and its neighbour Finland abandoned decades of military nonalignment and sought protection under NATO’s security umbrella after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine in February 2022.

Finland joined the military alliance in April after Turkey lifted its objections to its membership, saying Helsinki had taken steps to address Ankara’s security concerns.

Erdogan had dropped his opposition to Sweden’s membership at a NATO summit in Lithuania’s capital in July, but still delayed sending the protocol to parliament for ratification.

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.

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