Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has submitted Sweden’s bid to Turkey’s parliament for the first time. The move happened Monday, at a moment the globe’s attention has switched from Russia-Ukraine to the Israel-Gaza war, and has brought Stockholm’s entrance into the alliance a big step closer.

“The Protocol on Sweden’s NATO Accession was signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 23, 2023 and referred to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey,” the Turkish presidency announced on social media. Turkey under Erdogan has been the most outspoken in blocking Sweden’s bid, having long complained that it harbors ‘terrorists’ – due to the large Kurdish population which often organizes anti-Turkey protests and political movements.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson enthusiastically welcomed the development in Stockholm’s favor. “Welcome that President Erdoğan signed Sweden’s ratification protocol to NATO and submitted it to the Grand National Assembly of [Turkey]. Parliamentary procedures will now commence. We are looking forward to becoming a member of NATO.”