Turkish Parliament resumes talks on Sweden’s NATO bid

Turkey, along with Hungary, is one of the two NATO countries that have yet to endorse Sweden’s bid to join the military alliance, following Russia’s extensive attack on Ukraine.

The Foreign Affairs Committee of Turkey’s Parliament is scheduled to reconvene on Tuesday to resume discussions regarding Sweden’s application to join NATO, as stated in a parliamentary announcement. This development comes after a conversation between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Joe Biden, during which the topic of Sweden’s NATO membership was raised.

Subsequently, Erdoğan mentioned that Biden had linked the matter to the congressional approval for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. Officials from the United States and Turkey recently met in Washington to engage in discussions on defence cooperation. The review of Sweden’s application is slated for December 26, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Turkey, along with Hungary, is one of the two NATO countries that have yet to endorse Sweden’s bid to join the military alliance, following Russia’s extensive attack on Ukraine. Turkey has expressed concerns that Stockholm is not taking sufficient measures to address what it perceives as Kurdish terrorist activities in Sweden.

To be ratified, the bill must receive approval from the committee before being presented for a vote in the full Parliament. Subsequently, President Erdoğan, whose ruling alliance holds a majority in the parliament, would sign it into law. The committee’s endorsement of Sweden’s application would pave the way for this process.

After Russia initiated its military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, Sweden and Finland submitted their applications to join NATO in May. While Turkey approved Finland’s NATO membership in March, it has been proceeding cautiously with Sweden’s accession, urging the Nordic country to address Ankara’s security concerns more comprehensively.

In expressing disappointment over Sweden’s efforts in combating the PKK terrorist group, President Erdoğan mentioned his commitment to assisting in the ratification process. Sweden, on the other hand, asserts that it has taken all necessary measures to address Turkey’s concerns, leaving the decision of NATO membership in the hands of lawmakers. Hungary, another country hesitant to support Sweden’s bid, was reaffirmed by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán last week, stating that lawmakers lacked enthusiasm in approving Sweden’s application.