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ISTANBUL: Turkiye is expected to send the final instrument of ratification for Sweden’s NATO membership to Washington within days, now that President Tayyip Erdogan signed it off, in a move Ankara hopes will clear the way to its purchase of US F-16 fighter jets.

A source familiar with the issue said the document could be deposited as early as Friday, marking the last step in a process that began in 2022.

After 20 months of delay, Turkiye moved rapidly this week to ratify the Swedish bid, with parliamentary ratification coming on Tuesday and President Tayyip Erdogan signing off on the approval on Thursday.

As per formal NATO rules, the final document in the process - the instrument of ratification - needs to be deposited in the US State Department archives in Washington.

Turkiye backing, long seen as the main obstacle in securing Sweden’s accession into the western military alliance, leaves Hungary as the only ally in the military alliance yet to ratify the Swedish bid.

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Both Erdogan and members of the US Congress had previously linked Ankara’s final approval of Sweden to the $20 billion sale of Lockheed Martin F-16s and modernization kits to Turkiye.

Shortly after the Turkiye parliament’s vote, US President Joe Biden sent a letter to leaders of key Capitol Hill committees to inform them of his intention to begin the formal notification process for the F-16 sale once Ankara completes Sweden’s NATO accession process.

The US Ambassador to Turkiye told Reuters on Thursday that he expected Washington to take rapid steps toward US Congress endorsment of the sale, with the State Department sending the formal notification to Congress immediately.

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