Turkey's Parliament to Vote on Swedish NATO Membership This Week

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.22 - 2024 7:43 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Turkey's Parliament to Vote on Swedish NATO Membership This Week.

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Turkey's Parliament is expected to cast a pivotal vote on Sweden's NATO membership application this week. This development was confirmed by a senior official in the Turkish government to Bloomberg News. Reuters reported that parliamentary sources indicated the debate on this matter is scheduled for Tuesday.

Turkish media outlets, including CNN Türk, anticipate the vote to occur on Tuesday. However, it may face delays if the discussions extend, as per a source speaking to Barron's.

The ruling party in Turkey, AKP, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, holds the majority in Parliament alongside its allies. The Parliament's foreign affairs committee previously approved Sweden's NATO application in late December. The next step involves a full parliamentary vote on the issue.

It is widely anticipated that the Parliament will follow the committee's recommendation and vote in favor. Should Parliament vote affirmatively, the decision will then require ratification by President Erdogan.

However, Swedish Turkey expert Michael Sahlin, speaking to the TT news agency, believes this will likely not pose an issue. "I can't imagine Erdogan stalling the process after Parliament's approval. Even in Turkey's authoritarian system, this is a formality," he stated.

For a new member to be admitted into NATO, unanimous approval is required from all current member states. Only Turkey and Hungary are yet to approve Sweden's application.

Both Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Finland was admitted as a member in April 2023. The two nations had hoped for simultaneous admission, but Turkey opposed Sweden's entry, demanding specific conditions be met.

The Turkish government accuses Sweden of harboring and protecting Kurdish groups and individuals considered terrorists by Turkey. Additionally, Erdogan has linked approval of Sweden's NATO request to his desire to purchase F-16 jets from the USA.