The Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee will discuss the ratification of Sweden’s bid for NATO membership as part of its regular agenda, as the issue is not as urgent for Ankara as it is for some other countriessaid the chairman of the commission and former vice president of the country Fuat Oktai, quoted by Reuters.
The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, submitted to the Parliament the bill to ratify Sweden’s bid for NATO membership last month, a move welcomed by Stockholm as it would clear the way for it to join the western defense alliance.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he expected a “quick vote” from the Turkish parliament and that the process is “going well”. But the chairman of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Fuat Oktay, said Turkey was in no rush.
“Sweden’s membership in NATO is just one of the international agreements on our agenda awaiting ratification,” Oktay told a meeting of lawmakers. “We will discuss it when the time comes… within our own priorities… What is urgent to others is not necessarily urgent to (us).“
Sweden’s NATO membership bill must be approved by the committee before a vote by parliament, after which Erdogan will sign it into law.
Long-time neutrals Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO last year to bolster their security following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland’s membership was approved in April, but Sweden’s bid was held up by Turkey and Hungary.
Turkey said Sweden should first crack down on supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and members of a network Ankara holds responsible for the 2016 coup attempt. Turkey treats both groups as terrorist organizations.
Sweden approved a new anti-terrorism law in July.
Sweden’s bid has been blocked in Hungary’s parliament since last year, with the ruling Fidesz party saying there is no threat to Sweden’s security and addressing what it says are baseless accusations that it is undermining democracy in Hungary.
Russia expects Sweden to join NATO
Moscow has already considered this fact in its military planning