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ISTANBUL: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially submitted Sweden’s NATO membership application to the Turkish parliament on Monday, his office said, bringing closer the possible end of a 17-month standoff.

Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO members yet to ratify Sweden’s membership after Stockholm dropped its long-standing policy of non-alignment last year to apply in the face of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Erdogan agreed at a NATO summit in Vilnius in July to put the ratification of Sweden’s membership before his parliament as pressure grew on Ankara from partners.

“Sweden’s NATO membership protocol was signed on October 23, 2023 by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and sent to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey,” the presidency posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Finland, Sweden’s Nordic neighbour which applied to join NATO at the same time, was granted membership in April.

Erdogan has put pressure on Sweden to take measures over Koran desecrations in the country that have degraded bilateral relations.

Ankara also says Sweden is harbouring outlawed Kurdish and has demanded their extradition.

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