Orban Pledges Support for Sweden's NATO Bid in Wake of Turkish Approval

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.24 - 2024 7:04 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Orban Pledges Support for Sweden's NATO Bid in Wake of Turkish Approval.

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has reaffirmed his government's support for Sweden's bid to join NATO.

This declaration followed a telephone conversation with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on January 24. This development arrives in the wake of Turkey's parliament endorsing Sweden's accession to the military alliance on January 23, positioning Hungary as the lone nation yet to give its nod.

Turkey had prolonged the approval process for Sweden's NATO membership for over 17 months since Stockholm's initial application in May 2022. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan still needs to formally ratify the parliamentary decision to complete the process.

Turkey's reluctance to support Sweden's entry into NATO largely stemmed from accusations that Sweden had backed Kurdish groups, which Turkey deems terrorist organizations. Swedish authorities have refuted these allegations.

In response, Sweden has ramped up actions against these Kurdish groups, including the imprisonment of a man of Kurdish descent on terrorism financing charges and the extradition of another individual to Turkey. Swedish officials maintain that these actions were unrelated to the NATO application.

Viktor Orban has expressed his intention to expedite Hungary's parliamentary approval for Sweden's NATO membership at the earliest opportunity. Despite previous affirmations from Orban and other Hungarian officials in support of Sweden's bid, the ratification process has experienced unexplained delays.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, in July 2023, characterized the completion of the ratification process as merely a "technical issue." Hungary's endorsement of Finland's accession to NATO, which came nine months after the initial application, was only confirmed after Turkey's explicit support.

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