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Sweden Advances in NATO Bid: Turkey Acknowledges Progress on Key Demands

Sweden will join NATO by July.
January 11, 2024
Sweden NATO

Turkish Parliament Speaker Numan Kurtulmus has announced that Sweden has taken significant steps to address Turkey’s demands for its NATO bid, signaling a positive development in the diplomatic relations between the two nations.

“We see that Sweden also fulfills a significant part of its responsibilities,” Kurtulmus stated during a press conference, acknowledging the progress made in meeting Turkey’s expectations. This statement comes after the Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs committee approved Sweden’s NATO bid in December, marking a crucial initial step in the approval process.

Kurtulmus emphasized the importance of joint action within alliances, stating that Turkey holds “extremely legitimate expectations” from the countries involved. These expectations include the cessation of any support to terrorist groups and the prohibition of activities deemed anti-Turkish on their respective lands.

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While affirming that Turkey is not opposed to NATO’s expansion, Kurtulmus urged Sweden to exercise caution and diligence in combating Islamophobia within Europe. This call reflects Turkey’s commitment to fostering an environment of understanding and tolerance within the NATO alliance.

The Turkish parliament speaker highlighted that the timing of the full parliamentary vote on Sweden’s NATO bid would be determined when the general assembly reconvenes after its recess on January 16. A unanimous approval from the general assembly is required before the protocol can be signed into law by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey’s approval of Finland’s NATO bid in March last year demonstrated Ankara’s willingness to engage in the alliance’s expansion. However, the process with Sweden has been subject to a slower pace, with Turkey urging the Nordic country to address its security concerns.

The geopolitical dynamics surrounding Sweden’s NATO bid have also brought attention to Turkey’s negotiations with the United States. While the U.S. pressures Turkey to greenlight Sweden’s NATO accession, Ankara has used its ratification as leverage in seeking Washington’s approval for the sale of F-16 fighter jets.

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