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If Turkish parliament wanted to ratify the Swedish and Finnish NATO Accession Protocols then when, between now and July 1, would it be able to do so?

Considerations include the following:

  • Parliament may meet occasionally only, on a predefined schedule perhaps? I could not find any such schedule on the web.
  • Parliament may be dissolved prior to the elections which are currently scheduled for May 8. It is unclear when such a dissolution would take place.
  • Would dissolution of parliament last until a new president has been elected? The presidential election could require two rounds of voting.
  • After a new president is in place, when would ratification be on the agenda?

Note that I am specifically interested in the period between now (today is February 5th) and July 1st.

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  • Is it necessary for the Turkish parliament to ratify it? I would expect that it usually would fall more into the realm of the executive, but then I know nothing about Turkish politics.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 22:46
  • That's a question in itself ;) Let's assume it is - when could it do so?
    – janverkade
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 23:10
  • 1
    Why wouldn't they if they really wanted to? You seem to be asking about a lot of different possibilities with no reason to think that any of them would actually happen.
    – Joe W
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 0:51
  • 4
    You seem to assume that Parliament can only vote on some very specific occasions. I don't know anything about the Turkish government in particular but in general this is not how parliaments work. Most parliaments have only 2 or 3 weeks over the entire year where they do not convene, otherwise they are open for business all year round.
    – quarague
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 7:41
  • @quarague yes - that's an implicit assumption on my part alright. Well spotted and thank you for that. I suppose I would need to better understand how the Turkish parliament works. Can motions be handled pretty much immediately? Or do they need to be scheduled?
    – janverkade
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 12:05

1 Answer 1

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Yes, if it wanted to, but it would need the cooperation of President Erdogan. The steps that need to occur are as follows:

  1. President Erdogan to ratify the protocol and submit it to the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly.
  2. The Speaker to forward the protocol to the relevant parliamentary committee(s) for review.
  3. The committee(s) to refer the protocol back to the Assembly for approval.
  4. The Assembly to vote on a bill approving the ratification of the protocol.
  5. President Erdogan to grant Presidential Assent to the said bill.

Most of these steps could be completed fairly quickly. It might be helpful to consider the process followed with respect to the entry of North Macedonia into NATO in 2019. President Erdogan transmitted the protocol to the Speaker on May 9th, the bill approving the ratification was voted on in the Assembly on July 11th, and presidential assent was granted on July 24th; a total of 76 days.

In the present case, this would take us to the end of April. The 2023 election date has not been set in stone yet, but Erdogan has announced that he intends to hold the elections on May 14th. In 2018 the Assembly dissolved 40 days before election day.

However, in the case of North Macedonia, Erdogan, the Speaker, and the various parliamentary committees came under criticism - from the Nordic Research and Monitoring Network, for example - accused of stalling the referral:

Mustafa Sentop, the parliament speaker and a close ally of Erdoğan, waited for nearly two weeks to sign the referral of the protocol to the relevant commissions for review and debate. Even after Sentop’s signature, his office waited for another week to actually send the protocol to the commissions, which finally happened on May 31, 2019.

The article notes that the delay is usually one or two days, not three weeks. Furthermore, it accuses the parliamentary committees of refusing to take the proposed protocol up for debate, wasting another few weeks.

If we assume that all the relevant players cooperate, the process could be completed relatively quickly - perhaps even within the same day - but realistically I think the process could be completed within a week. There is one final snag though: once the protocol is ratified it needs to be deposited with the United States. In 2019, this took over four months from the aforementioned presidential assent and was only completed on December 9th. This process, however, could also be completed very quickly if the political will was there.

Technically then, it's possible, however it's impossible to predict the future. With the elections, and now the earthquakes in Turkey & Syria to contend with, it seems very possible that the ratification of the protocol will slip past July 1st.

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  • "In 2018 the Assembly dissolved 40 days before election day." Is there any rule about that in Turkey? Specifically does the Assembly has to be dissolved for a certain minimal number of days before an election? Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 17:42
  • @Trilarion great question - I've no idea. I don't think there's anything in the constitution, but maybe in the new electoral law there's some sort of provision for that.
    – CDJB
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 22:18

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