The Turkish Parliament approved accession Sweden to NATO (NATO), but the last word remains with Hungary, the only country that has not yet ratified Stockholm's request, which it submitted after the start of the conflict in Ukraine.
In his report published by the Russian “News Re” website, writer Sona Rustamova says that political analysts say that after Ankara’s approval, Budapest is unlikely to stand in the way of Sweden joining the bloc.
How did the Turkish Parliament vote?
The writer explained that on January 23, the Turkish Parliament approved Sweden's application to join NATO. After a 4-hour session on this issue, 287 representatives voted in favor of the initiative, 55 against it, while 4 abstained from voting.
He was the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan He signed the document last October, leaving the final say to the Grand National Assembly. As a result, after a year and a half of bargaining, Ankara gave the green light for Sweden's membership in the alliance.
Why did Türkiye agree to Sweden joining NATO?
The writer reported that Turkey had been preventing Sweden from joining the alliance since May 2022. At the end of June 2022, Ankara, Stockholm and Helsinki signed the Madrid Memorandum, which is a road map for the process of accepting the Nordic countries into NATO. However, Sweden's implementation of this agreement has not been welcomed Türkiye, which took advantage of the situation and demanded that Stockholm not only classify the PKK as a terrorist organization; And even handing over its organs.
He stated that at first, the Swedish authorities refrained from meeting the demands of the Turkish authorities, and only made changes to the constitution “to combat terrorism more strictly” in November 2023. By the end of the year, Stockholm began handing over Kurdish activists to Ankara.
What is the relationship between Sweden's joining NATO and F-16 fighters?
The writer stated that Turkey is linking approval of Sweden's request to the US Congress' adoption of a decision regarding the sale of F-16 fighter jets to it. It is noteworthy that the Turkish authorities have been negotiating with Washington for a long time regarding the resumption of the defense deal. On the other hand, prominent members of Congress revealed that approval is linked to Ankara abandoning its objections to Sweden joining NATO.
In January 2023, the Biden administration officially informed Congress of its readiness for this deal. At the end of last December, Ankara and Washington completed technical negotiations on it. On January 17, John Kirby, coordinator of strategic communications at the US National Security Council, confirmed that Biden supports the sale of F-16 aircraft to Turkey and the modernization of current fighters.
How will Hungary act?
The writer stated that Hungary is currently the only country that prevents Sweden from joining NATO. On January 15, the ITV television channel reported, citing Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Simeon, that the government’s program for the spring parliamentary session of 2024 does not include ratification of Sweden’s accession agreement to the alliance.
The writer quotes analyst Sergei Stankevich that Hungary will agree to Sweden’s accession to NATO after settling financial issues with the European Union.
Stankevich says, “Budapest did not receive a large amount of aid from the European Union, which Brussels refrained from doing in an attempt to pressure Orban, in order to force him to allocate aid to Ukraine. Hungary does not have any fundamental objections, as the decision will be in favor of accepting Sweden, and this is already clear.” “There will be behind-the-scenes jockeying over money.”
How did Russia evaluate Ankara's decision?
According to the writer, Konstantin Kosachev, Vice Chairman of the Russian Federal Council, believes that Turkey has missed the opportunity to work for the benefit of all humanity. By ratifying the “Protocol” of Sweden's accession to NATO. For his part, Turkish historian and political analyst, Mehmet Perincek, expressed his regret over Ankara’s approval of Sweden joining the alliance.
Perincek added, “NATO's position towards the Kurds is well known. Expanding the alliance not only plays against Russia, but also threatens all Eurasian countries, including Turkey, which is surrounded by the bloc's countries on all sides.”
According to him, “Maintaining a balanced policy requires establishing a strategic partnership with Eurasian countries, which also suffer from US and NATO aggression.” Perincek believes that to overcome the Turkish economic crisis, the country needs to maintain strategic relations, including with Russia, China and Iran.
Perincek adds, “NATO itself poses a threat to the whole world. The risks of its expansion outweigh the mere threat. All problems come from the alliance's aggression in Taiwan, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, etc..”
The writer also attributes – to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian Duma, Alexei Pushkov, saying: “Erdogan took a break in order to show Turkey’s weight in the alliance on the one hand, and in order to obtain some guarantees from the Swedish government regarding the activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party on the other hand.” “And others. But most important of all is trying to pressure the United States to hand over F-16 aircraft.”
Pushkov added, “Sweden's membership confirms the American position on the necessity of uniting the West, and that neutrality is a relic of the past, as the Baltic region is now completely under the control of NATO countries, which eliminates neutrality at the level of modern geopolitics and represents another advance in eastern Russia.”
At the conclusion of the report, Pushkov, speaking about retaliatory measures, indicated that Russia will strengthen its northern borders, although the Russian authorities have ruled out the possibility of these countries posing a threat, but they take into account the fact that these countries now belong to a bloc hostile to them.