Turkey vetoes Sweden in NATO for burning a Koran and Finland is already considering joining alone

“There will be no support from Turkey for Sweden to join NATO.” This is how forceful the president of Turkey has been, Recep Tayyip Erdoganon Sweden’s accession to the Atlantic Alliance after the burning a copy of the Koran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.

This veto from Turkey to Sweden has meant that, for the first time, Finland consider the possibility of join NATO without its Nordic partner despite asking to join the Alliance at the time.

Although Turkey has already shown its reluctance to join Sweden and Finland in recent months, this is the first time that Erdogan has so clearly spoken of a veto over one of these two countries. The decision to give the green light to the entry of new countries must be taken unanimously according to the statutes of the Atlantic Alliance, so in the case of Sweden its integration could be ruled out.

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“Those who have caused such ignominy in front of our embassy cannot expect any kindness from us in their application to join NATO,” Erdogan said in a televised speech.

The reason for this total rejection is derived from what happened this weekend. ANDhe Swedish-Danish far-right Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of the Koran in front of the Turkish embassy under the protection of the Swedish police, an act that Erdogan described as “a betrayal, a vulgarity, a scoundrel and a dishonor”.

“The Swedish government does not need to talk about rights and freedoms. If you care about them so much, you must first show respect to the Republic of Turkey and the faith of Muslims. If you do not show respect, you will not have any support from us in the matter of NATO”, insisted the Turkish president, who insisted on his ‘no’.

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Erdogan has reminded Sweden that if Stockholm wants to join NATO it must prevent political acts against the Muslim faith and its sacred books, as agreed at the NATO meeting held last June in Madrid.

The Turkish president has also criticized the demonstrations held in Sweden by groups opposed to Turkey’s Kurdish policy. “If you like it so much and you defend the members of terrorist organizations and the enemies of Islam so much, then we recommend that you also delegate the defense of your countries to them,” he added.

The Turkish authorities have demanded from those of the Nordic countries more commitments in the persecution of Kurdish groups classified as terrorists by Ankara.

Finland, solo?

After Erdogan’s drastic statements about the veto on Sweden’s entry into NATO, Finland has shown itself, for the first time, open to join the alliance solo.

The Finnish Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto, has indicated that both countries must rethink the strategy of moving forward together if necessary. “We have to be prepared to reassess the situation”has stated in statements to the Finnish public television channel, Yle.

Sweden and Finland depend on the approval of the 30 member states of the Atlantic Alliance to join, but for now they only have the approval of 28 – in addition to Turkey, Hungary is also missing to complete the procedures.

“They are ready to enter”

The words of Erdogan and the Finnish minister come shortly after US State Department spokesman Ned Price pointed out that “Finland and Sweden are prepared to join the Alliance.”

“They are because of their military capabilities and because of the long association in security matters that we have (…) for decades. They are highly developed democracies,” Price said.

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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