Sweden, burning of Koran

”It is unlikely that Turkey will approve Sweden’s entry into NATO”

The burning of a Koran in front of the Turkish embassy is another proof for Ankara that Sweden does not fight terrorism.

Turkey is unlikely to approve Sweden’s entry into NATO at the rate that relations between Ankara and Stockholm are going, and especially after the Swedish authorities allowed the burning of a copy of the Koran in front of the Turkish embassy, a senior official from the Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP party has assured.

“This incident has once again shown that Sweden has not stopped supporting terrorism,” AKP party vice-president Numan Kurtulmuş told journalists yesterday, referring to the incident that occurred the day before in Stockholm, where Danish Islamophobic activist Rasmus Paludan set fire to a copy of the Muslim holy book in front of the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital, also making a hate speech.

All of this occurred with the permission of the Swedish authorities and under police protection, precisely at a time when Turkey had raised its tone with Sweden over that country’s refusal to extradite several terrorists wanted by Turkish justice. Immediately after the incident, Ankara canceled a visit to Turkey by Swedish defense minister Pål Jonson, scheduled for this week.

For Kurtulmuş, there is “a certain importance and meaning” in the action of the far-right Paludan in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. “They want to show that they see Turkey as the pioneer and the defender of 2 billion Muslims,” he said, adding that the fact that Paludan had police protection “is proof that freedom of expression does not exist.”

“While negotiates with Turkey, Sweden does not fight terrorism”

The vice-president of the AKP party also criticized Sweden for not doing anything against the demonstrations in that country by supporters of groups such as the PKK – included in the list of terrorist organizations in the EU – or FETÖ (the pseudo-religious group accused in Turkey of instigating the failed coup of 2016), adding that these groups have been emboldened and dare to carry out these public acts in Sweden “because they know that they will not face any consequences.”

Underlining that Turkey is “a country true to its word”, Kurtulmuş reiterated that “it is not so difficult to extradite terrorists to Turkey and prevent attacks on President Erdoğan a few months before the elections”, referring to an act that occurred in early January, in which protesters in Stockholm “hanged” a puppet representing the Turkish president.

Sweden knows very well who these groups are,” Kurtulmuş said. “While they continue to negotiate with us (Sweden’s entry into NATO), at the same time they do not want to end their close ties with these terrorist groups,” he said. “It is obvious that at this rate, Sweden’s NATO application will never be approved by Turkey, which expects Sweden to honor the commitments it has made,” Kurtulmuş added.