Sweden moved one step closer to entering NATO Monday when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan submitted a bill to parliament seeking approval for the Nordic nation’s bid to join the military alliance.
Thirty-one other NATO member nations have already ratified Sweden’s membership bid, leaving Turkey and Hungary as the final nations that have not yet done so.
Erdogan had promised his NATO allies he would introduce a bill to ratify Sweden’s membership when parliament reopened on October 1 and the bill was finally submitted on Monday.
Previously, Turkey had cited accusations of Sweden harboring terrorists as a reason for the delay. Ankara had said Stockholm needed to take more aggressive measures to crack down on the Kurdistan Workers Party, or the PKK militia, before Sweden's membership bid could be ratified.
The PKK is deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.
Turkey's decision was welcomed by NATO as well as Sweden, who both released statements praising Erdogan.
"I look forward to a speedy vote to ratify, and to welcoming Sweden as a full NATO ally very soon," NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg said in a statement. "This will make the whole Alliance stronger and more secure.”
"Glad to hear that Turkish President Erdogan has now handed over the ratification documents to the Turkish Parliament," Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. "Now it remains for Parliament to deal with the issue. We look forward to becoming a member of NATO."
Turkey’s reversal on the decision to admit Sweden came as deals were made with both the U.S., who agreed to let Turkey buy 40 new F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits, as well as Sweden, who signaled it would help Turkey get admitted into the EU.
Sweden is attempting to follow its neighbor Finland in becoming a NATO member, after both nations spent decades outside the military alignment. Finland joined the alliance in April with Turkey stating it had addressed its security concerns.
The Nordic countries' decisions to seek military protection under NATO came after Russia launched a full-scale invasion into Ukraine last year.
Some information in this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.