President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has presented a bill to the Turkish Parliament for ratification, endorsing Sweden’s application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), as reported by Reuters.
On 23rd October 2023, President Erdogan signed the “Protocol on the Accession of Sweden to NATO” and subsequently sent it to the Turkish Assembly, according to an official statement released on the social media platform, Ix.
Earlier in July, during a NATO summit, Erdogan had pleased his allies by promising to forward the legislation to the Parliament after its summer recess, which began on 1st October. This followed Turkey’s earlier reservations due to Sweden allegedly harbouring individuals whom Ankara claims are members of terrorist groups.
Subsequently, Turkish officials repeatedly stated that Stockholm needs to take more decisive actions against the outlawed militant wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) before Ankara would ratify Sweden’s NATO membership application. Both the EU and the US, alongside Turkey, classify the PKK as a terrorist organisation.
Sweden’s Prime Minister, Ulf Kristerson, welcomed Erdogan’s move, expressing Stockholm’s eagerness to join NATO. NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, also joined in the accolades, looking forward to a swift vote in the Turkish Parliament.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, both Sweden and Finland had sought NATO membership. While Finland’s membership was sealed in April, in a historic expansion of the alliance, Sweden’s bid was held up by Turkey and Hungary.