Turkish Parliament Postpones Vote On Sweden’s NATO Membership

Via Remix News,

Turkey says Sweden must extradite PKK members considered terrorists by Ankara…

In this photo provided by the Turkish Presidency, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, left, and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán walk during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, March 16, 2023. (Turkish Presidency via AP, File)

After several hours of debate, the Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs committee postponed a vote on Sweden’s membership of NATO on Thursday, 18 months after Stockholm submitted its formal application for membership of the North Atlantic military alliance.

Announcing the decision, committee chairman Fuat Oktay said that all committee members needed to be fully convinced of Sweden’s credentials and warned that this could take time. He assured that the issue could be put back on the agenda in the near future but did not specify a date for the vote, and revealed that Sweden’s ambassador in Ankara could be invited to the committee meeting to speed up ratification.

Ankara has previously said it expects Stockholm to take stronger action in the fight against terrorism in return for Swedish approval and has demanded the extradition of members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey considers a terrorist organization, living in Sweden.

The bill could be passed by a simple majority in a parliamentary committee, but it would then be voted on by the full plenary and signed into law by the Turkish president.

Turkey is joined only by Hungary as the NATO members yet to approve Sweden’s membership bid, and while both the Hungarian government and Hungarian President Katalin Novák have made clear their support for Sweden’s involvement in the defense alliance, many MPs in the ruling Fidesz coalition have reservations.

Swedish government officials have grown increasingly frustrated at the lack of movement in Budapest, but Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said earlier this year that Stockholm hadn’t helped itself in winning over Hungarian lawmakers.

They’re spreading blatant lies about Hungary, about the rule of law in Hungary, about democracy, about life here; how, the argument goes, can anyone want to be our ally in a military system while they’re shamelessly spreading lies about Hungary?” he said during an interview on national radio in March.

“If they expect us to be fair to them, then they should also be fair to Hungary,” Orbán added.

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