Erdogan: Sweden can’t join NATO if Quran-burning is allowed read full article at


ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed Wednesday that Turkey gained’t enable Sweden to hitch the NATO military alliance so long as the Scandinavian nation permits protests desecrating Islam’s holy book to happen.

Turkey, which had already been holding off approving Sweden and Finland’s membership within the Western army alliance, has been infuriated by a sequence of separate demonstrations in Stockholm. In a single case a solitary anti-Islam activist burned the Quran exterior the Turkish Embassy, whereas in an unconnected protest an effigy of Erdogan was hanged. Even earlier than that, Ankara had been urgent Sweden and Finland to crack down on exiled members of Kurdish and different teams it sees as terrorists, and to permit arms gross sales to Turkey.

Turkey has indefinitely postponed a key meeting in Brussels that might have mentioned the 2 Nordic international locations’ NATO entry.

“Sweden, don’t even bother! As long as you allow my holy book, the Quran, to be burned and torn, and you do so together with your security forces, we will not say ‘yes’ to your entry into NATO,” Erdogan stated in a speech to his ruling celebration’s legislators.

Swedish authorities officers have distanced themselves from the protests, together with by a far-right anti-Islam activist who burned copies of the Quran in Stockholm and Copenhagen, Denmark, whereas additionally stressing that the demonstrations are protected by freedom of speech.

On Tuesday, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson denounced the activists who carried out the demonstrations as “useful idiots” for international powers who wish to inflict hurt on the Scandinavian nation because it seeks to hitch NATO.

“We have seen how foreign actors, even state actors, have used these manifestations to inflame the situation in a way that is directly harmful to Swedish security,” Kristersson instructed reporters in Stockholm, with out naming any international locations.

Sweden and neighboring Finland deserted a long time of nonalignment and utilized to hitch NATO within the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. All NATO members besides Turkey and Hungary have ratified their accession, however unanimity is required.

In a tv interview Wednesday, Erdogan steered that Sweden wants to forestall Quran burning protests.

“Hate crimes against Muslims under the guise of freedom of expression are unacceptable. We expect that the beliefs of all groups are respected and sincere steps are taken in the fight against Islamophobia,” he instructed state broadcaster TRT.

In Finland, which has seen no anti-Turkish or anti-Islam demonstrations, violating non secular peace is punishable by legislation, and desecrating a ebook held sacred by a spiritual group would probably violate that legislation. In consequence, police wouldn’t enable a protest that concerned burning the Quran.

There isn’t a comparable laws in different Nordic international locations, Finnish public broadcaster YLE stated.

YLE reported Tuesday {that a} group of anti-NATO demonstrators had deliberate to burn the Quran in Helsinki final week however modified their minds after police received wind of their plan on social media and intervened.

Earlier on Wednesday, Turkish International Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated Ankara has fewer problems with Finland turning into NATO member than with its neighbor Sweden. He burdened, nonetheless, that it was as much as the army alliance to determine whether or not to simply accept one nation solely or the Nordic duo collectively — one thing that each international locations are dedicated to.

Ought to NATO determine to take care of the membership processes of the Nordic neighbors individually, “(Turkey) will then of course reconsider (ratifying) Finland’s membership separately and more favorably, I can say,” Cavusoglu stated throughout a joint information convention along with his Estonian colleague in Tallinn. He didn’t give a time-frame.

Erdogan additionally repeated that Turkey’s view on Finland’s membership was “positive.”

In the meantime, Swedish International Minister Tobias Billström instructed Swedish information company TT that his nation was complying with an settlement reached by Turkey, Sweden and Finland final yr, however stated that “religion is not part of the agreement.”

“Having said that, I fully understand that people take offense to the burning of holy writings and perceive it as deeply hurtful,” he stated.

“What is needed now is for the situation to cool down on all sides,” Billström stated, including that talks with Turkey on the implementation of the settlement have been persevering with. With the joint memorandum signed final yr, Sweden and Finland agreed to deal with Turkey’s safety considerations.

The minister additionally tied Erdogan’s feedback to Turkish home politics.

Erdogan, who faces a tricky presidential election in Might amid an financial downturn and excessive inflation, is anticipated use his strong-arming of Sweden to rally nationalist help.

“Right now there is an election campaign going on in Turkey and in election campaigns many things are said,” Billström stated.

Jari Tanner reported from Helsinki. Jan M. Olsen contributed to this report from Copenhagen, Denmark.


About Suzan Fraser and Jari Tanner | AP

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