The move comes after a Turkish parliamentary committee approved Sweden’s application to join NATO
Sweden has lifted an embargo on the export of defensive military gear to Türkiye following a Turkish parliamentary committee’s approval of Stockholm’s NATO membership bid, Turkish media reported on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the foreign affairs committee of Türkiye’s Grand National Assembly greenlit Stockholm’s bid to join the Western military alliance following delays that had hampered the expansion of the 31-member bloc – primarily from Türkiye and Hungary.
The committee’s approval is expected to lead to Sweden’s NATO accession to be debated and ratified by Ankara’s parliament. No date has yet been set for a vote by the legislature, after which it would require formal approval by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Soon afterwards, Stockholm moved to lift its defense export embargo on Ankara and has begun to issue export licences at the request of Turkish companies, news outlet Yeni Safak said on Wednesday, citing comment from Deputy Foreign Minister Burak Akcapar.
“After the start of the process [to approve Sweden’s membership to NATO], the applications submitted by Turkish companies were positively completed,” Akcapar said, according to the newspaper.
The embargo was imposed by Sweden in October 2019 in objection to a Turkish military operation against Kurdish militia in Syria. Previously, President Erdogan threatened to block Sweden’s entry to NATO – as well as that of its Nordic neighbor Finland.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has welcomed Türkiye’s intent to ratify Stockholm’s NATO application, and called on Hungary to also rubber-stamp the move “as soon as possible.”
“Sweden’s membership will make NATO stronger,” Stoltenberg added on Tuesday.
The removal of the embargo could lead to an increase in defense trade between Türkiye and Sweden, as well as possible strategic collaboration.
Türkiye, a NATO member since 1953, had requested that Sweden and Finland change their stances on Kurdish militant groups that Ankara considers to be terrorist organizations, and for Sweden to remove its embargo on sales of defensive weaponry.