Turkey Unlikely to Vote on Sweden and Finland NATO Membership Until After Elections

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

A senior Turkish official has said it is unlikely that his country will vote on Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO before upcoming elections due to be held in May or June.

İbrahim Kaln, the primary adviser to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, told journalists: “We are not in a rush here, they are in a rush to join Nato.”

Before June, Turkey is anticipated to hold a crucial general election in which Erdoğan will likely face a six-party opposition coalition seeking to challenge his bid to extend his rule into a third decade.

Only Turkey and Hungary, two nations that have maintained ties with Moscow since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have delayed the parliamentary votes necessary to approve Finland and Sweden’s accession, although the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, stated late last year that Hungary’s parliament would vote on the move in February. The next NATO summit is anticipated to take place in July in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

Swedish and Finnish officials as well as the head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, have increased pressure on Ankara to sanction the accession since the three countries signed a trilateral memorandum at the NATO summit in Madrid last June.

The two Nordic countries resolved to address Turkey’s security concerns regarding the presence in Sweden of Kurdish organizations that Ankara claims have ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Both Nordic nations have also lifted restrictions on arms exports to Ankara, and Sweden amended its constitution to strengthen anti-terror legislation.