Turkish Parliamentary Committee okays Sweden's NATO bid

Members of the Turkish parliament's foreign affairs committee attend a meeting on Sweden's NATO bid in Ankara, Türkiye, on Dec. 26, 2023. [Xinhua]

The Turkish parliament's foreign affairs committee on Tuesday approved Sweden's NATO bid following deliberation, a first step necessary for putting it to a full parliament vote.

The bill regarding the approval of Sweden's accession protocol to NATO was adopted by the committee with votes by the ruling Justice and Development Party, the Nationalist Movement Party, and the main opposition Republican People's Party.

The IYI (Good) Party voted against the bill, while the People's Equality and Democracy Party did not participate in the voting.

Fuat Oktay, the committee's chairman, said that Sweden has taken steps, especially regarding the financing of terrorism, but added that Türkiye has "not yet seen the expected results in the fight against terrorism."

The parliament might debate the bid at the general assembly later this week for the final vote. But if the parliament enters recess, the vote will be delayed to the coming new year.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed Sweden's NATO accession protocol and submitted it to the parliament in October.

Türkiye approved Finland's NATO bid in March but has slow-walked Sweden's accession, demanding the Nordic country further address Ankara's security concerns.

Türkiye is under pressure from the United States to approve Sweden's accession to NATO, but Ankara has been holding up its ratification to press Washington to allow the sale of F-16 fighter jets.