Just four weeks before the second anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the parliament of Turkey, dominated by the Justice and Development Party of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, finally ratified Sweden’s entry into NATO yesterday.
Assuming that the other holdout, Erdoğan’s buddy, the very illiberal and friend of Putin Viktor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary, also concurs, this a major, major, event,
As we wrote in the spring two years ago when the Swedes and Finns dropped their neutrality to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization: “Though the two quiet countries don’t make many waves, this is world-historic stuff. Sweden has been strictly neutral since being part of the coalition that defeated Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. The Swedes sat out World Wars I and II, but their neutrality is now gone due to the attack on Ukraine.”
Ratification in each NATO country started that June and was completed by September by 26 of the European allies and their North American partners, the U.S. and Canada. But Turkey and Hungary then waited six more months to grudgingly ratify Finland’s admission.
But still Turkey and Hungary refused to approve Sweden, with an evolving array of excuses. The nonsense ended yesterday with a vote of 287 to 55, with four abstentions. Assuming Erdoğan approves, it all rests with Orbán.
Admired by Donald Trump for his authoritarian ways and willing to act as Putin’s agent, Orbán already has blocked an EU $54 billion aid package for Ukraine. What will be his price to let Sweden into NATO?