Postponed debate on the confirmation of Sweden’s admission to NATO

The parliamentary committee of the Turkish parliament for foreign affairs today postponed the debate on the confirmation of Sweden’s admission to NATO, without specifying the date of the resumption of the session.

It is not known when the committee will continue the debate on Sweden’s accession protocol, nor when the topic will come to the Parliament session, for eventual definitive confirmation.

Turkey is delaying ratifying Sweden’s NATO membership, accusing the country of being too lenient with groups Ankara considers terrorist, including Kurdish militants and those Ankara blames for launching a failed coup in Turkey in 2016.

Turkey was also displeased by a series of demonstrations by supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Sweden, as well as protests in which the Qur’an was burned.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan withdrew his objection to Sweden’s candidacy during the NATO summit in July and last month sent the protocol on Sweden’s accession to NATO to the Turkish parliament for ratification.

Turkey changed its position after Stockholm pledged stronger cooperation with in the fight against terrorism and support for Ankara’s ambitions to revive its bid for EU membership. In addition, NATO agreed to establish a special counter-terrorism coordinator.

Turkey’s agreement on Sweden’s membership is also linked to Ankara’s efforts to acquire new F-16 fighter jets from the US to upgrade its fighter fleet.

However, both American and Turkish officials insisted that the agreement on the purchase of those aircraft will not be tied to Sweden’s membership in NATO.

Turkish Parliament Speaker Numan Kurtulmus told his Swedish counterpart Andreas Norlen in a video conference this week that he hoped the process would be finalized “as soon as possible,” according to the Turkish state agency.

NATO requires the unanimous approval of all its members for expansion, and Turkey and Hungary are the only countries that have so far procrastinated on the matter.

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