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Turkey’s President Erdogan signs off on Sweden’s NATO membership ratification

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Turkey published a measure approving Sweden‘s membership in NATO in its official gazette on Thursday, finalizing the ratification that brings the previously nonaligned country a step closer to joining the military alliance, according to France24.

Hungary now remains the only NATO ally not to have ratified Sweden’s accession.

Turkey’s parliament endorsed Sweden’s accession in a vote Tuesday. The ruling party said the Nordic country’s tougher stance on Kurdish militants was key to winning approval.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also has linked the ratification to Turkey’s desire to buy fighter jets from the United States.

NATO-member Turkey had delayed Sweden’s membership for more than a year, accusing the country of being too lenient toward groups that Ankara regards as security threats. It sought concessions from Stockholm, including moves to counter militants.

Turkey also had been angered by a series of demonstrations by supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in Sweden as well as Quran-burning protests that roiled Muslim countries. 

Erdogan has linked ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership to the U.S. Congress’ approval of a Turkish request to purchase 40 new F-16 fighter jets and kits to modernize Turkey’s existing fleet. He has also urged Canada and other NATO allies to lift arms embargoes on Turkey.

U.S. administration officials have said they expect relatively quick action on the F-16 sale after the ratification.