Following a demonstration over the weekend that saw the burning of a copy of the Koran close to the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, President Tayyip Erdogan stated on Monday that Sweden shouldn’t count on Turkey’s backing for its NATO membership.
Tensions with Turkey have increased as a result of protests held in Stockholm on Saturday against that country and against Sweden’s application to join NATO, which requires Turkey’s support.
This month, Kurdish protestors in Sweden burned the Quran after hanging an effigy of Mr Erdogan.
Erdogan replied, “Sweden should not expect support from us for Nato.”
“It is clear that those who caused such a disgrace in front of our country’s embassy can no longer expect any benevolence from us regarding their application.”
While vehemently denouncing the conduct of far-right politician Rasmus Paludan, Swedish politicians defended their nation’s expansive notion of free speech.
The demonstration put Sweden’s efforts to join NATO in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine more in jeopardy.
Erdogan has already established strict guidelines for supporting the joint bids from Finland and its Nordic neighbour Sweden.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO last year. However, their applications must be approved by all 30 members. Before taking action against what it views as terrorists, mostly Kurdish militants and a group it holds responsible for a failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016, Ankara has previously demanded that Sweden in particular take a stronger stance.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, stated that Finland and Sweden are prepared to join the alliance but would not say whether Washington believed Erdogan’s remarks to be a definite rejection of their membership.
Sweden’s top ministers had already made a flurry of trips to Turkey’s capital city of Ankara, which gave rise to hopes that this trip may allay opposition to Sweden’s admission.
Given that Turkey is currently a member of Nato, it has the power to prevent another nation from joining, and it has already placed demands on Sweden. This includes the extradition of some Kurds who are alleged terrorists, according to it.
The Turkish president’s effigy was hanging from a lamppost in Stockholm by Kurdish protestors earlier this month, according to the Swedish prime minister, who claimed they were attempting to sabotage Sweden’s Nato application.
The action was described as “deplorable” by a Swedish minister, but Turkey felt that wasn’t enough.