Erdogan: We’ll not agree to Sweden’s membership in NATO as long as they allow burning the Quran


The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Türkiye’s position is positive about Finland’s request to join NATO, but it doesn’t support Sweden’s request.

“Our attitude towards Finland is positive, but it’s not positive towards Sweden,” Erdogan added, during a speech addressed to parliamentarians from his party, Justice and Development.

Sweden and Finland submitted requests to join the alliance last year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but faced unexpected objections from Türkiye and have tried to win its support since then.

Ankara wants Helsinki and Stockholm in particular to take a tougher line on the PKK and another group that Türkiye blames for the 2016 coup attempt.

Türkiye and the European Union classify the PKK as a terrorist group.

The three countries reached an agreement on future prospects in Madrid in June, but Ankara suspended talks last month amid heightened tensions following protests in Stockholm in which a far-right Danish politician burned a copy of the Islam Holy book, the Quran.

“Sweden shouldn’t bother trying at this stage… We’ll not say ‘yes’ to their request to join NATO as long as they allow the burning of the Qur’an,” Erdogan said.

At the beginning of the week, he indicated that Ankara would agree to Finland joining the alliance before Sweden.

But Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said on Monday that his country is committed to the joint application plan.

Among the 30 member countries in NATO, there are only two countries that have not yet agreed to grant membership to Finland and Sweden, namely Türkiye and Hungary.

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