26 out of 30 countries back Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership so far

26 out of 30 countries back Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership so far
Update: 16 September 2022 22:50
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Four countries, including Turkey, remain on the list of NATO member states that have not yet given approval for Stockholm and Helsinki to join the alliance

Twenty-six of 30 NATO member states by now have given the necessary official approval for Sweden and Finland’s joining the transatlantic alliance.

Following Spain and Greece’s parliamentary approvals on Thursday, four countries including Turkey remain on the list.

Turkey keeps holding its veto card up, threatening Stockholm and Helsinki for not backing their memberships in its parliament, unless they extradite the people Ankara deems to be terrorist suspects.

Spain and Greece became the latest to ratify the two Nordic countries’ accession protocols in their legislative bodies on Thursday, following Canada, Iceland, Norway, Estonia, the United Kingdom, Albania, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Lithuania, Belgium, Romania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, France, Italy, the United States and Czech Republic respectively.

Spanish and Greek lawmakers backed the two candidates’ membership with strong majority of votes. 

Along with Turkey, Hungary, Portugal and Slovakia remain on the list of the member states that have not ratified Sweden and Finland’s accession.

Sweden and Finland that have a long history of neutrality in military conflicts, officially applied for NATO membership in May, following Russia’s launching an invasion of Ukraine on Feb.24. While the vast majority of NATO members welcomed Sweden’s and Finland’s bids to demonstrate strength and unity in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Turkey, the second largest army in the alliance, opposed the two countries’ memberships, citing their failure to combat threats to Turkey’s security.

After Sweden and Finland promised to address Ankara’s pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects, Turkey dropped its objections against Sweden and Finland’s membership applications, allowing the military organization to formally invite the two countries for membership at a Madrid summit in June. But the final approval of their memberships depends on the current member states’ parliaments. The NATO accession protocols for Sweden and Finland need to be ratified by the parliaments of all 30 members, where Ankara says it will not ratify the documents if Stockholm and Helsinki fail to fulfil their commitments, regarding Turkey’s extradition requests.