Turkey's parliament ratifies Sweden's NATO membership bid, clearing the biggest remaining hurdle to expanding the Western military alliance after 20 months of delay. Turkey's general assembly, where President Tayyip Erdogan's ruling alliance holds a majority, voted 287-55 to approve the application that Sweden first made in 2022. All NATO members need to approve applications from countries seeking to join the alliance.
After Parliament’s verdict, Turkiye President Erdoğan is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days. The Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, reacted quickly to the news, saying his country is one step closer to becoming a full member of NATO.
Nato’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, welcomed the vote, saying he expected Hungary to ratify Sweden as soon as possible. Sweden's membership would make the entire Baltic coastline NATO territory - except the Russian coast and that of its enclave Kaliningrad. This would, for example, make the Baltic States easier to defend in the event of a Russian attack. Troops and equipment could be transported much more easily by ship via Sweden to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. (AIR NEWS)