The Turkish Parliament approved Sweden’s accession to NATO after months of deliberations, leaving Hungary as the only country that opposes the expansion of the defense alliance to the north.
The plenary session of Parliament in Ankara voted on Tuesday 287 votes in favor and 55 against Sweden’s request, sending the document back to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his final signature before it can be deposited at the US State Department in Washington. Erdogan has already backed Sweden’s accession and is expected to sign it.
Thus, Sweden is about to meet its goal of becoming the 32nd member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, one year and eight months after submitting an application that marked a shift in its defense policy. Moving in lockstep with neighboring Finland, Stockholm concluded in May 2022 that entering the alliance would be the best way to deter any Russian aggression following its invasion of Ukraine. Finland joined NATO in April.
Decision after months of study
“I welcome the vote of the Turkiye Grand National Assembly to ratify Sweden’s membership in NATO,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. “I am also counting on Hungary to complete its national ratification as soon as possible.”
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan declared in a statement that Sweden’s accession is a priority for President Joe Biden and that “membership in NATO is in the interest of US national security, and will make the alliance safer and stronger.”
Sweden’s entry would strengthen NATO, strengthening its northern reach and improving its ability to defend the eastern flank. Sweden and Finland had previously shied away from membership in military alliances, until Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military actions changed that calculus. Jeff Flake, US ambassador to Turkey, hailed the vote in a message posted on X as “a big step for Sweden, Turkiye and all of NATO.”