Turkiye’s parliament has approved Sweden’s accession to NATO after months of deliberations, leaving Hungary as the lone holdout to the defense alliance’s northern enlargement.

Media reports say that after a four-hour debate, 287 of 346 MPs voted yes, 35 against and the rest abstained.  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days before it can be deposited with the US State Department in Washington.   Erdogan has already backed Sweden’s membership and is widely expected to sign.   

The Guardian says Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom told Swedish broadcaster SVT that the vote was “of course good”, but that the government was now waiting for the Turkish president to sign the ratification and send it on.  “Of course we are not finished with the process until it has happened, on the Turkish side,” he noted.

Turkiye’s approval leaves Hungary as the only country still to ratify Swedish membership. Earlier on January 23, the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, reportedly hinted at progress by inviting Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Hjalmar Kristersson to visit for negotiations on the question.

Sweden applied to join NATO in May 2022, at the same time as Finland, in a shift in its security policy prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that February.

Turkiye and Hungary, both of whom maintain better relations with Russia than other members of the North Atlantic Alliance, raised objections, holding up a process that requires unanimity among NATO’s member nations.