In a significant development for NATO and Sweden, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has submitted a protocol to Turkey’s parliament for the ratification of Sweden’s entry into the alliance. The move was welcomed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.
Stoltenberg expressed his enthusiasm for the development, stating, “I welcome President Erdogan’s signing of the protocol on Sweden’s accession to NATO and its submission to the Grand National Assembly. I look forward to a speedy ratification vote and Sweden’s early acceptance as a full NATO ally. This will make the entire Alliance stronger and safer.”
Similarly, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson conveyed Stockholm’s anticipation for joining NATO, remarking, “Now it’s up to the (Turkish) parliament.”
The bill for Sweden’s NATO membership is set to be discussed by the parliamentary foreign affairs committee. Following its approval, the bill will be sent to the General Assembly for ratification. However, the timeline for these proceedings remains undetermined.
This development comes in the wake of Sweden and Finland’s applications to join NATO last year, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While Finland has already been admitted to NATO, marking a historic expansion of the alliance, Sweden’s entry had been delayed due to preconditions set by Turkey and Hungary.
According to reports, Erdogan had previously resisted ratifying Sweden’s membership due to Stockholm’s “soft stance” on Kurdish militants, which he perceives as a security threat. He had also expressed outrage at approved Quran-burning demonstrations in Sweden, describing them as “an insult to the Muslim people.”
The submission of the protocol for Sweden’s NATO membership is seen as a pivotal moment, not just for Sweden but for the alliance as a whole. It signifies the potential strengthening of NATO’s collective security measures and could serve as a deterrent against aggressive actions from other nations, particularly Russia.
The geopolitical implications of Sweden’s potential NATO membership are manifold. It would extend the alliance’s reach and could act as a counterbalance to Russian influence in the Baltic region. Moreover, it could foster greater cooperation among NATO members in various domains, including defense, intelligence sharing, and technological innovation.
While the ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership is yet to be finalized, the submission of the protocol to Turkey’s parliament marks a significant step forward in the process. It reflects the changing dynamics within NATO and could have far-reaching implications for regional and global security.