Erdogan approves Sweden’s NATO bid, Hungary’s ratification pending

ANKARA, Turkey – President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has endorsed Sweden’s NATO membership, marking a significant step towards Stockholm’s inclusion in the alliance. This move follows the Turkish parliament’s ratification and leaves Hungary as the only remaining obstacle to Sweden’s NATO entry.

The approval, officially documented in the presidency’s gazette, comes approximately 20 months after Sweden applied for NATO membership in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Turkey’s ratification of our NATO application signifies a pivotal moment towards our full membership,” stated Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on social media network X. Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom echoed this sentiment, noting Hungary’s ratification as the final step.

Turkey’s parliamentary ratification on Tuesday was a critical juncture in NATO’s expansion plans. Erdogan’s decision to enact the ratification law and sign the presidential decree accepting Sweden’s NATO protocol follows intense discussions and concessions.

Ankara’s ratification is expected to influence the United States’ approach towards a proposed $20 billion F-16 fighter jet sale to Turkey. This issue has been a point of discussion between Erdogan and U.S. congressional members.

U.S. President Joe Biden, in anticipation of Turkey’s decision, informed key congressional committee leaders of his intention to formally proceed with the F-16 sale. Following Erdogan’s approval, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey indicated that the State Department would promptly notify Congress once the ratification instrument is received in Washington.

The final step in the process involves sending the ratification instrument from Ankara to Washington, in accordance with NATO’s protocols.