By The Associated Press on January 23, 2024.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Turkish legislators scheduled a long-delayed vote Tuesday on Sweden’s bid to join NATO, in a step that could remove a major hurdle for the previously nonaligned Nordic country’s entry into the military alliance.
Turkey, a NATO member, has been dragging its feet on ratifying Sweden’s accession for more than a year, accusing the country of being too lenient toward groups it regards as security threats. It has been seeking concessions from Sweden, including a tougher stance toward Kurdish militants and members of a network that Ankara blames for a failed coup in 2016.
Turkey has also been angered by a series of demonstrations by supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Sweden as well as Quran-burning protests that roiled Muslim countries.
Last month, parliament’s foreign affairs committee gave its consent to Sweden’s bid in the first stage of the legislative process, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent its accession protocol to lawmakers for approval.
Erdogan’s governing party and its nationalist allies command a majority in parliament, and the protocol was expected to be approved later Tuesday.