Turkey’s parliament has given long-awaited approval to Sweden’s NATO membership, bringing the Nordic country significantly closer to joining the Western military alliance after months of uncertainty.
Three months after Recep Tayyip Erdogan submitted a membership approval bill to parliament, lawmakers voted late Tuesday night to ratify it. The Turkish president is expected to sign the law in the coming days.
Turkey’s approval leaves Hungary as the only country that has not yet ratified Sweden’s membership. Earlier on Tuesday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán signaled progress by inviting Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to visit for talks on the issue.
“I believe that a more intensive dialogue could contribute to the strengthening of trust between our countries and institutions and thus enable the further strengthening of our political and security arrangements,” Orban wrote in the letter.
Kristersson’s spokesman said they had no comment on the call at this time, but Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said the government would have to “consider what the letter signals before responding.”
Sweden applied to join NATO in May 2022, at the same time as Finland, in a historic U-turn in its security policy prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February earlier that year.
Turkey and Hungary maintain better relations with Russia than other members of the organization. They stopped the access process earlier. Finland finally joined last year, but Ankara has pressured Stockholm to toughen its stance on members of the Sweden-based Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which the US and the EU, as well as Turkey, consider a terrorist group.
Sweden has already signed an agreement with the US on full access to 17 of its military bases and has begun the process of integration into NATO, Klix.ba reports.