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23 Nov, 2023 13:03

Member state sabotages new NATO expansion drive – Reuters

The news agency claims Türkiye will not ratify Sweden’s bid in time for a NATO ministerial meeting next week
Member state sabotages new NATO expansion drive – Reuters

NATO will be unable to officially induct Sweden at next week’s meeting of foreign ministers, Türkiye has reportedly notified other members. Reuters cited anonymous sources on Wednesday as saying Ankara had informed the US-led military bloc that it would not be able to ratify Stockholm’s bid in time for the event, where a formal accession ceremony was apparently expected.

Having applied to join the alliance in May 2022 along with neighboring Finland, Sweden is still awaiting the green light from two members: Türkiye and Hungary. While Stockholm has made certain changes to its domestic and foreign policies that Ankara demanded, the Turkish leadership declared last month that the Scandinavian nation had still not done enough.

In late October, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did sign Sweden’s NATO accession protocol and sent it to the Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. According to procedure, once approved, it would then be up to the Grand National Assembly to ratify the document.

Last week, the committee delayed a vote in order to hold further talks on Sweden’s bid. Reuters quoted its sources as claiming that lawmakers would likely resume deliberations next Tuesday or Wednesday, coinciding with NATO’s ministerial meeting in Brussels.

Last month, the Turkish president complained that the Nordic country had blocked most of Ankara’s terrorism extradition requests and tolerated Quran-burning protests on its soil.

He also demanded that the US approve the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye as a precondition for approving Sweden’s NATO membership, to which the White House consented.

In in a bid to secure Turkish backing, Sweden has amended its counterterrorism laws, banning support for the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) and other groups Ankara considers terrorists. Stockholm has also resumed arms exports to Ankara.
Neighboring Finland had also made similar concessions, with Türkiye finally agreeing to give the green light to its accession to the alliance in April.

Another member state that has yet to ratify Sweden’s bid is Hungary, whose parliament has repeatedly delayed considering the issue – the last time in October.

A boycott by the ruling Fidesz party previously saw a ratification vote fall through in July as there was no quorum to pass the legislation. Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s office explained that Sweden had failed to meet some of Hungary’s conditions.

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