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Turkey finally backs Sweden’s NATO Bid  |

Turkey finally backs Sweden’s NATO Bid 

Context:

∙ Sweden’s attempt to join NATO cleared a major hurdle recently after Turkey’s parliament supported its membership.

About:

∙ This move came after Sweden tightened its anti-terror legislation and pledged closer cooperation with Turkey on security concerns.

∙ For a new country to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), all the existing members have to approve it. Turkey and Hungary had been opposing Sweden’s entry for almost the past two years.

Background

∙ Sweden has not fought a war in two centuries, staying neutral through the two World Wars and the Cold War.

∙ However, this neutrality had to be abandoned after Russia invaded Ukraine.

ο With public opinion increasingly in favour of joining NATO, both Sweden and Finland applied for membership in 2022.

ο While Finland’s bid was cleared, Sweden ran into stiff opposition from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Reasons behind the opposition to Sweden’s bid to join NATO:

∙ Erdogan objected to Sweden’s accession, accusing Swedish officials of being too lenient on militant groups, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and being a mute spectator when Quran-burning protests were held in Sweden.

∙ Hungary’s grievances with Sweden include Stockholm’s negative remarks about the rule of law and state of democracy under Hungary’s Prime Minister Orban. Orban is also more friendly with Russia than other NATO nations.

∙ After Turkey’s move, Orban said recently that he had invited Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to Budapest to discuss future cooperation in the field of security and defence as allies and partners.

What will Sweden bring to NATO?

∙ Once a country is a NATO member, an attack on its territory is considered an attack on the US-led alliance, and all 31 members are obliged to defend each other (Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty).

∙ It effectively put Sweden under the “nuclear umbrella” of the US.

∙ Once Sweden becomes a member, almost all of the Baltic Sea coastline, except that in Russia’s control, will become NATO territory.

∙ This will provide the alliance strategic bases close to Russia, make supply lines more streamlined, and make it easier to defend assets in the sea.

∙ Sweden’s military, though numerically small, is modern and experienced in past NATO missions. Importantly, it has advanced aircraft and submarine capabilities.

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