Türkiye’s president has said Sweden should not expect his country’s support for NATO membership after an anti-Islam protest near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, including the burning the Quran.
Finland’s top diplomat has appeared to suggest that the country may have to join NATO without Sweden after Türkiye’s president cast doubt on the expansion of the military alliance.
“We still have to evaluate the situation if it turns out that Sweden’s application is stalling for a long time to come,” Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told Finnish broadcaster YLE.
Until now, Sweden and Finland have been committed to joining the alliance together, but Haavisto’s comment appeared to suggest that Finland was considering proceeding without its Nordic neighbour.
His comment came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Sweden not to expect support for its bid for NATO membership following weekend protests in Stockholm by an anti-Islam activist and supporters of the PKK/YPG terror group.
In addition to the protests, Rasmus Paludan, the leader of Denmark’s far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) Party, under police protection and with permission from the Swedish government, burned on Saturday a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.
Erdogan said on Monday that if Sweden “does not show respect to the religious beliefs” of Muslims in Türkiye and around the world, it will not receive any support from Ankara.
Sweden and Finland applied last year to join North Atlantic Treaty Organization after the Russia-Ukraine war started.
They now need the backing of all current NATO states to progress with their application.
But alliance member Türkiye has said the Nordic countries must take a clearer stance against terrorist groups, mainly the PKK/KCK/YPG terror group and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) – the group behind the defeated 2016 coup in Türkiye.