Turkey's Erdogan submits Sweden's Nato bid to parliament

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson welcomes the move, adding Stockholm is looking forward to becoming a member

Sweden's bid for Nato membership was put forward by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his national parliament on Monday. AP
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A bill approving Sweden's Nato membership was put forward to the Turkish Parliament for ratification by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, a move welcomed by Stockholm that clears the way for it to join the western defence alliance.

At a summit in July, Mr Erdogan pleased his Nato allies by promising to send the legislation to parliament when it reopened on October 1, having previously raised objections over Sweden's alleged harbouring of terrorists.

However, following the opening of parliament, Turkish officials have repeatedly said Stockholm needs to take more concrete steps to clamp down on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militia before Ankara can ratify its membership bid. The PKK is deemed a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the EU and the US.

On Monday, the bill on approving Sweden finally moved forward.

"The protocol on Sweden's Nato accession was signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 23 and referred to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey," the presidency said on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, without elaborating.

Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson welcomed the move and said Stockholm was looking forward to becoming a Nato member. "Now it remains for the parliament to deal with the question," he said on X.

There is no set timetable for ratification, however. The bill will be put on the agenda of parliament's foreign affairs commission, which will have to pass it before it can be sent to the general assembly.

Sweden and Finland applied to join Nato last year after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Finland's membership was sealed in April, in a historic expansion of the alliance, but Sweden's bid had been held up by Turkey and Hungary.

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Turkey, which has Nato's second-biggest army, has long been seeking US congressional approval for a $20 billion sale of F-16 jets and modernisation kits. Mr Erdogan has previously linked Sweden's Nato bid to US support for its request.

Updated: October 24, 2023, 4:39 AM