Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., has welcomed Turkey’s decision to ratify Sweden’s bid to join NATO.
Cardin, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, praised the Turkish Parliament for voting in favor of Sweden’s accession protocol and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who signed the legislation on Thursday.
“My approval of Turkey’s request to purchase F-16 aircraft has been contingent on Turkish approval of Sweden’s NATO membership,” the senator said in a statement published on Friday.
According to Cardin, the move would bolster the Euro-Atlantic community and interoperability amid Russia’s illegal incursion into Eastern Europe.
He noted, however, that despite Turkey’s commendable action, its government needs to improve its human rights record.
The legislator also called on the NATO member to address the unjust imprisonment of journalists and civil society leaders in the country and enhance its cooperation with the military alliance to hold Moscow accountable for invading Ukraine.
After ratification by Turkey, Hungary is the only country left effectively holding up Sweden’s accession.
In his statement, Cardin scored Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for obstructing Sweden’s path to NATO membership, spoiling the European Union’s effort to provide economic assistance to Ukraine.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced formal approval of the $23 billion sale of 40 F-16 aircraft and related equipment to Turkey on Friday.