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Turkey moving swiftly toward final step on Sweden's NATO bid

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Turkey 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 U.S. F-16 fighter jets.

Turkey 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 U.S. 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, Turkey 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 U.S. State Department archives in Washington.

Turkey's 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.

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

Shortly after the Turkish parliament's vote, U.S. 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 U.S. Ambassador to Turkey told Reuters on Thursday that he expected Washington to take rapid steps toward U.S. Congress endorsment of the sale, with the State Department sending the formal notification to Congress immediately.

Reporting by Jonathan Spicer and Tuvan Gumrukcu

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