Erdogan warns Sweden on NATO after Koran burning
Moon Desk: Sweden should not expect any good news from Türkiye on its NATO bid if it does not show respect to Islam, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.
“Those who caused such a disgrace in front of our embassy should not expect any benevolence from us regarding their NATO membership applications,” Erdogan said after a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.
Erdogan’s pointed remarks came after Rasmus Paludan; the leader of Denmark’s far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) Party, under police protection and with permission from the Swedish government, on Saturday burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.
“If you do not show respect to the religious beliefs of the Republic of Türkiye or Muslims, you will not receive any support for NATO from us,” he added.
Erdogan stressed that no individual has the freedom to insult the faith of Muslims or other religions and beliefs.
On a recent provocative protest of supporters of the terrorist group PKK that Stockholm gave permission for, Erdogan said: “If they love the members of the terrorist organization and the enemies of Islam that much, we advise them to delegate their country’s defense to them.”
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in May, abandoning decades of military non-alignment, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine.
But Türkiye – a NATO member for more than 70 years – voiced objections, accusing the two countries of tolerating and even supporting terror groups, including the PKK.
Last June, Türkiye and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum to address Ankara’s legitimate security concerns, paving the way for their eventual membership in the alliance.
But recent provocative demonstrations by terrorist group supporters and Islamophobic figures in Stockholm have led Turkish leaders to sharply question Sweden’s commitment to take the steps necessary to gain NATO membership.