Erdogan to Sweden: “Do not expect Turkey’s support for NATO bid after the burning of Koran”
Sweden should not expect Turkey's support for its NATO membership after a protest near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm at the weekend including the burning of a copy of the Koran, President 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 remarks came after Rasmus Paludan, the leader of Denmark’s far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) Party, burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.
"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," Erdogan said.
Turkey had already summoned Sweden's ambassador about the incident and canceled a planned visit by Swedish defence minister to Ankara.
Sweden and Finland applied last year to join NATO following Russia's invasion of Ukraine but all 30 member states must approve their bids. Ankara has previously said Sweden in particular must first take a clearer stance against what it sees as terrorists, mainly Kurdish militants and a religious group it blames for a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.