Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey, has stated once again that he will not back Sweden’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This most recent statement was made after politicians in Sweden burned copies of the Koran at a demonstration in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, over the past weekend.
Erdogan was quoted as saying that Sweden does not need to hope any longer to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by the Anadolu Agency and the Huriyet Daily on Monday evening (23 March 2023), which is the evening in Ankara (NATO). “Those who embarrassed themselves in front of our embassy cannot expect any favors to be shown to them when it comes to the registration of their membership in NATO. “You won’t get any support (to become a member of NATO) if you don’t respect the religion in the Republic of Turkey or Muslims,” he said.
Rasmus Paludan, a politician on the right-wing, set fire to the Koran during a demonstration that took place in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Saturday (21/1/2023). The burning took place in the presence of the security forces that were providing protection for the demonstration. Erdogan stated that “this heinous act” occurred in Sweden and that it was an insult to anyone who respects human rights and freedoms, specifically Muslims.
The act of burning the Koran in Paludan drew strong criticism not only from Muslim-majority countries and Arab countries but also from countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait, and Indonesia. Several international organizations, such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, have presented a position that is very similar to what has been stated here (OIC).
On Saturday in question, in addition to the demonstration that was held by the groups associated with the right, there were also two other demonstrations. Kurds living in Sweden who are opposed to the country’s proposed membership in NATO were also present at a demonstration. A second demonstration was held thanks to the efforts of a pro-Turkish group. The police gave their blessing to each of the three separate protests.
Erdogan brought up in his speech that Sweden is unwilling to comply with Turkey’s demands concerning the Kurds. Sweden is home to a sizeable community of individuals affiliated with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara classifies as a terrorist organization. These individuals include both supporters and administrators of the organization. Although the PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization in both the European Union and the United States, symbols associated with the PKK are not suppressed in Sweden.
“From the very beginning, we have stated that there are terrorists on your streets and in other public areas; however, you still expect us to support your membership in NATO. Impossible. Erdogan stated that they should not expect support from their government.
Hulusi Akar, the Defense Minister of Turkey, has also stated that Turkey’s position regarding Sweden’s membership in NATO is very clear. Turkey will not support Sweden’s proposal to join NATO if Stockholm continues to tolerate demonstrations in which Korans are burned or other acts that disrespect religion.
Akar criticized Sweden for not deporting a number of PKK members to Turkey and asked why the country does so. “They asked for our support for security and defense, even though they refused our request in combating terror,” said Akar. “They asked for our support in a number of different areas.”
Akar was due to visit Sweden last week to discuss Sweden’s proposal to NATO. Because of Paludan’s behavior, Akar decided to call off the trip. After the incident, Ankara also refused to allow the Swedish Defense Minister to travel to Turkey. Pal Jonson’s visit was canceled.
We require support from Turkey.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the previous year, Sweden, along with Finland, became the second country to formally apply to join NATO. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly a year ago, Sweden made a last-minute decision to abandon its neutrality and submit an application to join NATO.
It is necessary for all 30 countries that are already members of NATO, including Turkey, to give their approval before they can register. Because a number of Turkey’s requests to Sweden have not been fulfilled, including the issue of Kurdish citizens and activists in Sweden, Turkey has not provided support up until this point.
Turkey has been a member of NATO for the past 70 years and currently has the second-largest army of all the countries that make up the alliance. The United States Army is the world’s first and largest military power.
The fact that Paludan burned a Koran added more weight to Turkey’s decision to oppose Sweden’s membership in the European Union. In addition, the city of Stockholm has not yet taken action against the fire on the grounds that there was no violation of the law when it occurred.
Tobias Billstrom, the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, stated that the freedom of expression is protected by Swedish law. The actions of Paludan are seen in Stockholm as an exercise of one’s right to freedom of expression.
“The Swedish government has made it abundantly clear that citizens of Sweden have the right to freedom of expression. However, it should be made abundantly clear that we do not support the individual who committed those acts, as Billstrom stated in Brussels, Belgium.
In response to the most recent statement made by Erdogan, Billstroom told the Swedish news agency TT on Monday evening (23/1/2023) that he was unable to comment on Erdogan’s statement because it was made so late in the day. First, I need to get a clear understanding of exactly what he said.
On the evening of Saturday, November 21, 203, the Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson, posted a message on Twitter in which he stated, “Freedom of expression is an essential component of democracy.” On the other hand, just because something is legal does not mean that it is appropriate. Burning books that are revered by a significant number of people is an act that demonstrates a high level of disrespect.
Last week on Saturday, Kristersson expressed his empathy to all Muslims who were hurt by the events that took place in Stockholm that day by saying, “I want to express sympathy to all Muslims who are offended by what took place today.”
The spokesperson for the European Commission, Johannes Bahrke, stated that Stockholm needed to take action regarding the fire. This action was regarded as a manifestation of hatred toward those who held different beliefs. As a result, the actions in question do not comport with the fundamental principles upheld by the EU.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the United States Department of State, stated that Paludan’s actions were unacceptable. However, he did not criticize Paludan for his behavior. Even though the behavior in question did not violate any laws, he described it as being unsettling.
Source : AFP