The Turkish parliament gave the first positive opinion on Sweden’s entry into the Atlantic Alliance. In the evening, the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Ankara assembly approved the accession protocols for Stockholm that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had signed and sent to parliament at the end of October. Since then, the green light for the measure has not had an easy path and in November the Foreign Affairs Commission stopped the text, reiterating doubts about the alleged Swedish support for groups considered terrorists by Ankara. Turkey is the only NATO country, besides Hungary, to have not yet approved enlargement. With today’s decision, which came after a debate in the commission that lasted many hours, the white smoke certainly seems closer. The protocols will now have to be ratified by the Chamber, where Erdogan’s AKP party holds the majority of seats. The vote could take place as early as the next few days, before the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Alliance Jens Stoltenberg he made it known that he “welcomes” the vote.
The US State Department also welcomed Ankara’s choice, hoping that complete ratification by parliament could arrive “soon”. In recent weeks Erdogan had discussed Stockholm’s entry into NATO with American President Joe Biden. The Turkish leader had also explicitly linked Ankara’s green light to the sale of F-16 fighters from the US to Turkey, an issue that has been pending for years on which the Washington Congress has not yet expressed its opinion. “Positive developments from the United States regarding the F-16 issue will accelerate a positive opinion from parliament” on Sweden, he said Erdogan, stating that he had received assurances from Biden and that the American president would like Congress’ yes on the sale of the fighter jets. Turkey’s request to purchase F-16s dates back to 2019, and came following Ankara’s exclusion from the military cooperation program on F-35 fighters. The rejection by the administration of the former American president Donald Trump it was opposed as a sign of retaliation after Ankara decided to purchase S-400 missiles from Moscow, a defense system considered by NATO to be a threat to its security.