BRUSSELS — The Turkish government on Monday submitted Sweden’s NATO accession bid to the country’s parliament for ratification, ending a months-long guessing game over whether Ankara intended to postpone its approval process further.
“The Protocol on Sweden’s NATO Accession was signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on October 23, 2023 and referred to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey,” the presidency posted on social media platform X.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson hailed the move. “Welcome that President Erdoğan signed Sweden’s ratification protocol to NATO and submitted it to the Grand National Assembly of [Turkey]. Parliamentary procedures will now commence. We are looking forward to becoming a member of NATO,” his office posted on the same platform.
Turkey has long blocked Sweden’s bid, criticizing Stockholm for harboring members of Turkish opposition groups that Erdoğan’s government considers to be “terrorists.”
While Erdoğan agreed in July to send Sweden’s bid to the parliament — in a deal brokered by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg — Turkish parliamentarians have in recent weeks revived calls for “anti-terrorism” measures in Sweden.
“It’s still unclear how long it will take for the Turkish lawmakers,” a Western diplomat said.
Both Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO in May 2022, breaking a longstanding tradition of non-alignment after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland has since joined the alliance, while Sweden’s bid has been held up in Turkey as well as in Hungary.
This article has been updated to correct the date of Sweden and Finland’s NATO applications.