Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has submitted a protocol for the admission of Sweden to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) for ratification after repeated delays, according to his office on Monday.
Erdogan had delayed the ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership over claims of Stockholm failing to take a clear stance against Kurdish militants and other groups he considers to be security threats. Further, a series of Quran-burning protests in Stockholm also angered Turkey, who threatened to reject Sweden’s NATO bid.
All 31 NATO allies must endorse Sweden’s membership. Turkey and Hungary are the only two allies that have yet to ratify it. His office said that the protocol has been signed by Erdogan and submitted to the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
The move was welcomed by Sweden. “Welcome that President Erdoğan signed Sweden’s ratification protocol to NATO and submitted it to the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye. Parliamentary procedures will now commence. We are looking forward to becoming a member of NATO,” said Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had urged Turkey earlier this month to quickly ratify Sweden’s membership in the military organisation.
“Many allies would like to see speedy progress on this ratification,” Stoltenberg told the media after chairing a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. “Sweden has delivered on what they promised, and now we need the ratification of Swedish membership.”
Sweden and Finland’s NATO bid
Sweden and its neighbour Finland abandoned decades of military non-alignment after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine in February 2022, seeking protection under NATO’s security umbrella. Finland joined the military alliance in April.
After joining NATO, Finland Prime Minister Sauli Niinisto said that the era of military non-alignment in the country’s history has come to an end and added a new era has begun. However, Russia warned of taking “retaliatory measures” to address the “security threats” posed by Helsinki.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Moscow “will be forced to take military-technical and other retaliatory measures to counter the threats to our national security arising from Finland’s accession to NATO.”
According to BBC, Sweden has a small contribution to NATO with a military capacity of 57,000 personnel. However, since it brought back conscription in 2018, the current number of up to 6,000 conscripts will rise to 8,000 in 2025.
Sweden and Finland became official partners of NATO in 1994 and have since become major contributors to the alliance. They have taken part in several Nato missions since the end of the Cold War.
(with AP inputs)