Turkey’s parliament ratified Sweden’s NATO membership bid on Tuesday, clearing the biggest remaining hurdle to expanding the Western military alliance after 20 months of delay.
Turkey’s general assembly, where President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling alliance holds a majority, voted 287-55 to approve the application that Sweden first made in 2022 to bolster its security in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The vote was the second step of Turkey’s ratification process after the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission approved the bid last month. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can now sign the protocol into law.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in a statement after the decision: “Today we are one step closer to becoming a full NATO member. It is positive that the Turkish Grand National Assembly has approved Sweden’s NATO membership.” Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom stated that they welcomed the decision and said: “We are now waiting for President Erdoğan to sign the ratification document.”
“We support NATO enlargement to improve the alliance’s deterrence efforts… We hope Finland and Sweden’s attitude towards fighting terrorism sets an example for our other allies,” Fuat Oktay, head of parliament’s foreign affairs commission and a ruling AK Party member, said during debate.
Hungary is now the only member state that has not yet ratified Sweden’s accession.
Following Turkey’s ratification, NATO Secretary General Jens Stontelberg also welcomed the decision and said, “I trust that Hungary will also complete the national ratification process as soon as possible.”