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Turkey’s parliamentary committee approves Sweden’s NATO membership

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The foreign affairs committee of the Turkish parliament on Tuesday gave its approval for Sweden to join NATO, reported Turkey’s Anadolu news agency.

This brings Sweden a step closer to joining the Western military alliance. It also comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delayed action on Sweden’s bid for a year, arguing the country is too friendly toward Kurdish activists regarded by Ankara as terrorists.

Erdoğan has also linked the approval of Sweden’s accession to the sale of F-16 fighter jets by the United States to Turkey — something that’s currently pending approval by the U.S. Congress.

The general assembly of the Turkish parliament now needs to give its final green light before Sweden can officially become a full NATO member. However, no date for this plenary vote has been set.

The unanimous approval of all current NATO member countries is required for any new state to join the military alliance.

Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán has also been stalling Sweden’s accession bid, saying last week that there was no “great willingness” from Hungarian lawmakers to approve it. This makes Hungary the last NATO member country that hasn’t started the ratification process.

Sweden and Finland both dropped their neutrality and asked to join the alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Finland joined the alliance in April.

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