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As it stalls Sweden's NATO bid, Turkey is under scrutiny over Hamas, Russia ties

BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 17: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the media as he stands in front of a flag of the European Union before talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Chancellery on November 17, 2023 in Berlin, Germany. Erdogan is on a one-day visit to meet with German leaders that is taking place following his recent vocal support of Hamas and his labelling of Israel as a "terror state", which is complicating his relation with Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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ANKARA — As President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to drag his feet on Sweden’s NATO accession, Sweden's top diplomat, Tobias Billstrom, suggested this week that this saga might be drawing to a close, and that Turkey could ratify his country’s NATO bid within weeks. The comments came after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, on the sidelines of the NATO foreign ministers summit in Brussels on Wednesday. 

The Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee has still not scheduled the debate, which is a precursor to ratification, after delaying a previous committee vote that would have moved the protocol to be considered by Turkey's full parliament. 

Lawmakers from Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party said at the time that they were not convinced that Sweden had taken sufficient steps to address Turkey’s national security concerns in return for Turkish support for its membership in NATO. Stockholm has since amended its constitution and counterterrorism laws in response to Ankara's accusations that it harbors groups Turkey deems terrorists. 

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