Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially submitted a bill for Sweden’s NATO membership to the Turkish parliament on Monday, his office said, putting a possible end to more than a year of negotiations with the Nordic country.
The bill is expected to be discussed at a parliamentary committee and then voted on in the assembly, where Erdogan’s ruling party holds the majority of seats. It is unclear when this process will take place.
Erdogan has resisted ratifying Sweden’s membership due to Stockholm’s “soft stance” on Kurdish militants, which he believes pose a security threat. He previously expressed outrage at approved Quran burning demonstrations in Sweden, calling them “an insult to the Muslim people.”
Stockholm’s bid to join NATO by its annual summit this summer was delayed by Turkey’s hesitancy and Hungary’s parliamentary vote. Hungarian lawmakers said that a vote on Sweden’s entry into the alliance would not happen until until the autumn legislative session.
U.S. President Joe Biden has repeatedly expressed full support of Sweden’s NATO membership, and has been in talks with Ankara on the possible sale of F-16 fighter jets — an exchange that has been linked to the discussion of Stockholm’s accession into NATO.
With Finland now part of the bloc, experts have remarked on how Sweden’s membership in NATO would provide additional protection in the Baltic Sea and reinforce the alliance’s “transatlantic outlook”. Sweden’s navy is the fifth largest in the world, while Finland’s is the 11th biggest.