Turkey’s Parliament, After Delay, Backs Sweden’s NATO Bid

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Turkey’s Parliament voted on Tuesday to allow Sweden to join NATO, putting the Nordic country one step closer to entering the military alliance and easing a diplomatic stalemate that has clouded Turkey’s relations with the United States and hampered Western efforts to isolate Russia over its war in Ukraine.

The measure passed after a vote of 287 to 55, with four abstentions in the 600-member body. It will go into effect once it is published in the country’s official gazette, usually a swift formality. That would make Hungary the only NATO member that has not approved Sweden’s accession, depriving the alliance of the unanimity required to add a new member.

The bill’s passage is a big moment for NATO, paving the way for expanding its deterrence against Russia at a time when some of its members are struggling to provide Ukraine with enough arms to roll back Russia’s invasion. Sweden’s accession would open a vast stretch of Nordic land to potential military operations by the alliance and extend to Sweden the other members’ automatic protection should it come under attack.

“Being a full-fledged ally means that if Sweden is under pressure or attack, there is no debate” over whether NATO would defend it, said Camille Grand, a former NATO assistant secretary general. “As we see very clearly with Ukraine, you can be the closest NATO partner, but if you’re not an ally, the debate is different.”

Despite Tuesday’s vote, Sweden’s swift accession is not guaranteed. Turkey could delay filing its formal approval with the alliance, and it remains unclear when Hungary, whose Parliament is in recess until Feb. 15, might provide its assent.

Still, Sweden’s prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, praised the “positive” developments in Turkey, writing on the social media platform X, “Today we are one step closer to becoming a full member of NATO.”

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Turkey’s Parliament, After Delay, Backs Sweden’s NATO Bid

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