Turkey’s parliament ratified Sweden’s NATO bid on Tuesday, bringing Stockholm one step closer to joining the military alliance.
Turkey’s General Assembly voted 287-55 to approve Sweden’s NATO bid about a year and a half after Stockholm submitted its application. Hungary is the final NATO country that needs to approve Sweden’s membership.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Tuesday that he invited Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson “for a visit to Hungary to negotiate on Sweden’s NATO accession.” But Stockholm appeared to decline the invitation.
“I see no reason to negotiate at this point,” said Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom. “What we hope, of course, is that Hungary will ratify membership as soon as possible.”
Sweden applied to join NATO with Finland in May 2022, but Turkey delayed its approval over the Nordic nations’ alleged support for the PKK and other Kurdish militant groups. Turkey approved Finland’s membership in March 2023 but held out longer with Sweden.
Once Sweden officially joins NATO, the alliance will have 32 members, twice what it had at the end of the Cold War. Finland joining NATO has significantly raised tensions with Russia since the Russian-Finnish border is over 800 miles long.
The US recently signed a deal with Finland that gives it access to 15 bases in the country, including one on the Russian border. The US signed a similar agreement that will allow it to establish a military presence in Sweden.