Turkey’s parliament approves Sweden’s NATO membership

1 min read
Turkey’s parliament approves Sweden’s NATO membership Blog Image

What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in news?
  • What is North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)?
  • News Summary: Turkey’s parliament approves Sweden’s NATO membership
  • Why does Sweden want to join NATO?
  • Why was Turkey opposing Sweden’s bid?
  • What will Sweden bring to NATO?

Why in news?

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

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

  • About
    • Formed in 1949 with the signing of the Washington Treaty, NATO is a security alliance of 31 countries from North America and Europe.
      • In April 2023, Finland joined the alliance as its 31st member.
    • NATO’s fundamental goal is to safeguard the Allies’ freedom and security by political and military means.
    • It is a system of collective defence where independent member states agree for mutual defence in case of any attack by external party.
      • Article 5 of the Washington Treaty states that an attack against one Ally is an attack against all. This article forms the core of the Alliance, a promise of collective defense.
    • Headquarter - Brussels, Belgium.
  • Functions
    • Political
      • NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.
    • Military
      • NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes.
      • If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations.

News Summary: Turkey’s parliament approves Sweden’s NATO membership

  • On January 23, Turkey's parliament voted to approve Sweden's membership bid to join NATO.
  • The vote ended a 20-month delay that frustrated Turkey's Western allies.

Why does Sweden want to join NATO?

  • Sweden has not fought a war in two centuries, staying neutral through the two World Wars and the Cold War.
  • In recent years, while it joined the European Union and collaborated with NATO, it showed no intention of actually joining the military alliance.
  • However, this neutrality had to be abandoned after Russia invaded Ukraine.
    • With public opinion increasingly in favour of joining NATO, both Sweden and Finland applied for membership in 2022.
    • While Finland’s bid was cleared, Sweden ran into stiff opposition from Turkey and Hungary.

Why was Turkey opposing Sweden’s bid?

  • Support to Kurdish militant outfit
    • Turkey had accused Sweden of going soft on groups it sees as terrorists, such as the Kurdish militant outfit.
  • Quran-burning protests held in Sweden
    • The government says that it is protected under freedom of speech laws. This further soured its relationship with Turkey.
  • US agreeing to sell 40 F-16 fighter jets to Ankara
    • Experts also linked Turkey’s support to Sweden with the US agreeing to sell 40 F-16 fighter jets to Ankara(capital of Turkey)
    • While the US had not said the deal would depend on Turkey’s Sweden actions, the sale is expected to go through now.

What will Sweden bring to NATO?

  • 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.

Q1) What are F-16 fighter jets? 

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine, single-seat jet fighter. It is a multi-role aircraft that can perform air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attacks. The F-16 is highly maneuverable and can reach speeds of over Mach 2. It has a maximum speed of 1,345 mph, a cruising speed of 577 mph, and a range of 1,407 miles.

Q2) What is the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)?

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is a Kurdish militant group that has been fighting for an independent Kurdistan since 1978. The PKK is also known as Kongra-Gel.

Source: Turkey finally backs Sweden’s NATO bid: Why the opposition, why it changed its stance | NATO | Aljazeera | The Hindu