March 4, 2024

Columbus Post

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Ukraine ticker: Turkish parliamentary committee approves Sweden's accession to NATO

Ukraine ticker: Turkish parliamentary committee approves Sweden's accession to NATO

After a month-long hiatus, the Turkish parliament has resumed discussions on the ratification of Sweden's accession to NATO. A meeting of the foreign policy committee has begun, MP Utku Cakirözer from the opposition CHP party told AFP news agency. Sweden's accession to NATO is the tenth item on the agenda.

If the committee agrees, Sweden's application for NATO membership will be submitted to parliament. In November, committee members were unable to agree on a common template for a parliamentary referendum.

In early December, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave his country's approval for Sweden's accession to NATO, depending on the United States to supply F-16 fighter jets. Erdogan said that if Washington does its part “simultaneously and in unison”, the parliament in Ankara will do the same. He also called on NATO allies to lift the arms embargo on Ankara.

In response to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, traditionally non-aligned Sweden applied for NATO membership along with its neighbor Finland in May last year. Finland joined the military alliance in April, while Sweden is still awaiting approval from member states Turkey and Hungary.

Ankara has been delaying Sweden's accession to NATO for months. At a NATO summit in July, Erdogan gave his word that Sweden could join, but the Turkish parliament has yet to approve the request.

Turkey justified its reluctance with, among other things, the Swedish authorities' very lax attitude towards suspected PKK members in Sweden. Sweden then pledged, among other things, tougher action against the PKK.