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Friday, May 24, 2024

Turkey’s parliament ratifies Sweden’s NATO membership bid

The timing of Sweden's NATO membership approval is crucial, coming in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Turkey’s parliament has given its approval for Sweden’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), culminating a 20-month-long struggle for Sweden to gain unanimous approval from all NATO members. The decisive vote of 287-55 is seen as a significant victory for President Erdogan’s ruling alliance and signals the end of Sweden’s journey to join the Western military alliance.

Strengthening Security Amidst the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The timing of Sweden’s NATO membership approval is crucial, coming in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This move is anticipated to bolster Turkey’s security and contribute to the collective defense efforts of NATO in the face of evolving geopolitical challenges.

Read More: Prepare for war with Russia – NATO leader

Turkey’s Previous Objections and Shift in Position

Turkey had initially objected to Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership bid in 2022, citing concerns over their protection of groups deemed as terrorists. While Turkey endorsed Finland’s membership in April, Sweden had to wait for the approval. The recent vote indicates a significant shift in Turkey’s stance, with officials expressing support for NATO enlargement to enhance the alliance’s deterrence efforts.

Global Response and U.S. Approval

United States Ambassador Jeff Flake commended the Turkish Parliament’s decision, emphasizing Turkey’s commitment to the NATO alliance as a demonstration of enduring partnership. The international community views Sweden’s entry into NATO as a positive development for collective security and stability.

Hungary’s Reluctance and Ongoing Negotiations

Despite the overwhelming support, Hungary remains the only member state yet to approve Sweden’s accession to NATO. Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin have influenced Hungary’s decision-making. Orban has invited Sweden’s counterpart for negotiations, and while Turkey and Hungary maintain stronger relations with Russia than other NATO members, both have criticized Western sanctions on Moscow.

Sweden’s Shift Towards NATO and Regional Implications

Sweden’s NATO membership bid marks a historic departure from its non-aligned security policy. The move is expected to enhance NATO defenses in the Baltic Sea region, a strategically important area facing Russia. The strengthening of NATO’s military infrastructure in Nordic states, including Sweden, has drawn warnings from Russia regarding potential responses.

Read More: NATO announces largest drill since Cold War

As President Erdogan is expected to sign the legislation for Sweden’s NATO accession in the coming days, the approval by Turkey’s parliament reflects a significant stride in reinforcing Western security. Sweden’s entry into NATO not only signifies a departure from its traditional security stance but also contributes to a united front against evolving global threats in the Baltic Sea region.