Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan officially submitted a bill to the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) on Monday, seeking ratification for Sweden’s bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This development comes after Erdoğan’s earlier commitment made at a NATO summit in July to bring forth the legislation for parliamentary review, following the reopening of the assembly on 1 October.
The move by Erdoğan was welcomed by Sweden, with Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson expressing enthusiasm about the prospect of joining NATO and now awaits the Turkish parliament’s deliberation on the matter.
Previously, Turkish officials had voiced concerns regarding Sweden’s alleged support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), demanding from Sweden more decisive actions against the Kurdish community in the Nordic country before Ankara could proceed with ratifying Sweden’s NATO membership bid.
The bill concerning Sweden’s NATO accession now enters the legislative process in Turkey. Initially, it will be discussed in the parliament’s foreign affairs commission. Following approval from the commission, the bill will progress to the general assembly for ratification. However, the timeline for these procedural steps remains undefined.
This parliamentary review signifies a critical step towards Sweden’s NATO membership, especially after the accession of Finland to the alliance earlier in April, marking a historic expansion of NATO. The development also occurs amidst a broader geopolitical context, including Turkey’s pursuit of US congressional approval for a significant military deal involving the sale and modernisation of F-16 jets, which Erdoğan has previously linked to Sweden’s NATO bid.
Sweden and Finland’s decision to apply for NATO membership last year was propelled by the Russia-Ukraine war.