The Turkish Parliament’s foreign affairs commission has approved Sweden’s bid to join NATO, likely clearing the way for Stockholm to gain membership into the military alliance after nearly two years of delay.
Reuters said the panel voted to advance the bid for consideration by the Parliament’s general assembly, which could deliberate on the matter after a two-week break in January.
Fuat Oktay, head of the commission, noted that the clearance for the bid does not necessarily translate to an affirmative vote from the general assembly. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party controls the assembly.
In May 2023, Turkey objected to the request from Sweden and Finland to join NATO, raising concerns that the applicant nations protect entities that Ankara regards as terrorists.
The Turkish government eventually supported Helshinki’s bid but held off its approval for Sweden as it demanded that Stockholm implement measures against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, an organization listed by the European Union and the United States also as a terrorist group.
The Swedish government responded by introducing legislation that outlaws terrorist organizations.
Reacting to the commission’s support for his country’s NATO membership bid, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said Sweden welcomes the move, stressing that the country looks forward to finally joining the bloc.