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File photo of soldiers in front of the Swedish flag. Shutterstock
military alliance

Sweden's bid to join Nato inches forward - but still faces key vote in Turkish parliament

A key committee in the Turkish parliament has approved Sweden’s request to join the military alliance.

A KEY COMMITTEE in the Turkish parliament has approved Sweden’s bid to join Nato after months of delays.

This clears another hurdle in the Nordic country’s accession process to join the military alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

Sweden’s Nato bid had been stalled amid opposition from Turkey and Hungary.

Recently, it was further complicated after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan linked it to Ankara’s request for F-16 fighter jets from its ally the United States.

Sweden and Finland dropped decades of military non-alignment and sought to join the US-led defence organisation after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Their bids won fast-track approval from all Nato members except Turkey and Hungary. The two ultimately relented and Finland was accepted as Nato’s 31st member in April.

Turkey and Hungary remain the only North Atlantic Treaty Organization members left to ratify Sweden’s bid 19 months after it applied for membership.

vilnius-lithuania-10th-july-2023-nato-secretary-general-jens-stoltenberg-hosts-a-meeting-between-turkish-president-recep-tayyip-erdogan-and-swedish-prime-minister-ulf-kristersson-at-the-nato-summi File photo of Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson earlier this year. Alamy via UPI Alamy via UPI

On Tuesday, the Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs committee approved the measure.

“The protocol (on Sweden’s Nato accession) passed the committee,” opposition CHP party lawmaker Utku Cakirozer, a member of the foreign affairs committee, told AFP after the vote.

The move paves the way to a vote by the full parliament, where Erdogan’s ruling alliance holds the majority of seats. It was no immediately clear when the full parliament would hold its vote.

Erdogan in July lifted his objections to Sweden’s Nato membership after Stockholm cracked down on Kurdish groups that Ankara calls terrorists.

Nato allies have piled pressure on Turkey, with France saying the credibility of the alliance was “at stake”.

© – AFP 2023