(FILE) Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at the opening of the new legislative year of the Parliament in Ankara, Turkey, 01 October 2023. EFE/EPA/NECATI SAVAS

Protocol ratifying Sweden’s entry into NATO reaches Turkish parliament

Ankara, (EFE) – Turkish President, conservative Islamist Recep Tayyip Erdogan, signed on Monday the protocol to ratify Sweden’s entry into NATO and sent it to parliament for a vote, the Turkish Presidency Office in Ankara reported.

Erdogan had told NATO allies in July that he would send the legislation to parliament when it was back in session in October.

In recent weeks – after months of stonewalling – he indicated he would give his approval to the Nordic country’s access if the US “keeps its promises.”

But he made clear that the final decision would be made in parliament, where his party, the AKP, has a majority along with its ally, the ultra-nationalist MHP.

The opposition, which includes the social-democratic CHP and the left-wing pro-Kurdish HDP, supports Sweden’s candidacy.

The vote of the AKP-MHP bloc is still uncertain, but as Erdogan himself announced last month, the decision depends on certain concessions from Washington.

“I hope that as long as they remain faithful to their promises, our parliament will also remain faithful to the promise that was made,” Erdogan said in September.

At the time, the Turkish president did not specify what those promises were, although he suggested that the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, which has been blocked by the U.S. Congress, was an important factor.

Turkey and Hungary are the last NATO members to ratify Sweden’s accession, which must be approved by all members of the Atlantic alliance before it becomes effective.

For the past year, Ankara has also been negotiating political concessions with Sweden in exchange for its ratification.

The Turkish president has insisted that Sweden limit public expressions of support for Kurdish guerrillas, extradite people wanted in Turkey and, most recently, put an end to Koran-burning acts.