The Turkish Parliament began the examination of the protocol for Sweden’s NATO membership on Thursday, which has been pending since May 2022, with the aim of final approval by the end of the month.
After 17 months of delay, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan forwarded the protocol of the Scandinavian country’s membership to the Turkish parliament at the end of October.
Turkey, along with Hungary, remains among the last two out of 31 NATO member states yet to approve Stockholm’s membership, following their consent to Finland’s membership on March 31.
Erdogan abandoned his opposition to this move in July, referring the matter to the Turkish Parliament after months of pressuring Sweden, condemning its leniency towards some Turkish and Kurdish refugees accused by Ankara of “terrorism.”
These refugees are associated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Turkey and its Western allies consider a “terrorist” organization, or sympathize with the movement led by Fethullah Gülen, whom Erdogan holds responsible for the attempted coup in July 2016.
The approval process takes place amid tense relations between Turkey, a supporter of the Palestinian cause, and its Western allies within NATO, particularly concerning the situation in the Middle East.
The Turkish President strongly condemned Israel, which imposes a blockade on Gaza and carries out a severe bombing campaign, describing it on Wednesday as a “terrorist state” after its army stormed Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza.
Israel and its ally, the United States, accuse the Hamas movement of hiding weapons and military facilities in Al-Shifa medical complex, a claim denied by the Palestinian movement.