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Erdogan submits Sweden’s NATO bid to Parliament

AFP – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkiye officially submitted Sweden’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) membership application to Parliament on Monday, his office said, bringing closer the possible end of a 17-month diplomatic standoff.

Turkiye and Hungary are the only NATO members yet to ratify Sweden’s membership request, which came after Stockholm dropped its long-standing policy of non-alignment last year after the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

Erdogan agreed at a NATO summit in Vilnius in July to put the ratification of Sweden’s membership before the Turkish Parliament as pressure grew on Ankara from partners.

“Sweden’s NATO membership protocol was signed on October 23 by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and sent to the Grand National Assembly of Turkiye,” the presidency posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson called the announcement “encouraging news”.

“Now it remains for the Parliament to deal with the issue,” Kristersson said, also on X. “We look forward to becoming a NATO member.”

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Monday urged a quick vote by Turkiye’s Parliament to approve Sweden’s membership.

“I welcome President Erdogan’s signature of the accession protocol for Sweden and its referral to the Grand National Assembly. I look forward to a speedy vote to ratify, and to welcoming Sweden as a full NATO ally very soon,” he said in a statement.

Sweden’s Nordic neighbour Finland, which applied to join NATO at the same time, was granted membership in April.

File photo shows NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. PHOTO: AFP