Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is furious over last week’s burning of the Koran in Stockholm. Sweden needs Turkey’s support to join NATO, the Western military alliance.

NATO membership: Sweden should not expect Turkish support, Erdogan
NATO membership: Sweden should not expect Turkish support, Erdogan


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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Sweden now expects Turkey’s support for NATO membership after an anti-Islamic leader burned the Koran, the holy book of Muslims, during a demonstration in Stockholm. Should not be kept.

Far-right Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan set fire to a copy of the Holy Quran during a protest outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm last Saturday. Earlier, Turkey appealed to Sweden to stop this demonstration as much as possible.

“Those who allow insulting Islam in front of our embassy should no longer expect our support in their bid for NATO membership,” Erdogan said in a speech after a cabinet meeting.

He added, “If you love and protect the members of terrorist organizations and enemies of Islam so much, we advise you to seek their support for the security of your countries.” “

Efforts by Sweden to contain the damage

The Swedish government has distanced itself from the Koran burning incident, but has cited freedom of expression, which is practiced in the Nordic countries. Prime Minister Alf Christensen wrote on Twitter, “Freedom of expression is a fundamental part of democracy, but what is legal is not necessarily appropriate. Burning books, which are sacred to many people, is an extremely insulting act.” is a verb.”

Christensen may have delayed tweeting on Saturday because Turkey had already canceled a scheduled visit to Ankara by Swedish Defense Minister Paul Johnson. Dozens of protesters demonstrated outside the Swedish consulate in Istanbul on Sunday, where they burned Sweden’s national flag.

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Bluström declined to immediately comment on Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks. However, he said, “Stockholm will respect the agreement that exists between Sweden, Finland and Turkey regarding NATO membership.”

Why does Sweden need Turkey’s support?

Sweden is trying to persuade Turkey to endorse its and Finland’s applications to join NATO. Sweden needs the support of all members of the military alliance for NATO membership. Only Turkey and Hungary have some objections in this matter. But Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has promised that his parliament will ratify both countries’ applications next month.

Even before the Koran burning incident, Turkey demanded that Stockholm hand over the Kurdish activists to Ankara. Erdogan again criticized Sweden on Monday for allowing pro-Kurdish groups, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), to hold rallies in the country. Turkey, the European Union and the United States consider the PKK a terrorist group, but there is no ban on it in Sweden.

The Turkish president said, “On the one hand, you will allow terrorist organizations to walk on your streets and intersections, and on the other hand, you will expect our support to join NATO. This cannot happen.”

Burning Quran Attempted Sabotage, USA

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said “those responsible for burning the Koran may have done so to drive distance between two of our closest partners, Turkey and Sweden.” Ned Price said, he had “deliberately tried to influence the ongoing debate regarding the NATO membership of Sweden and Finland”.

A US State Department spokesman declined to comment on whether Washington believed Erdogan’s comments meant the door to NATO was permanently closed for the two countries. “This is a decision and a consensus that Finland and Sweden have to reach with Turkey,” said Ned Price.

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