ISTANBUL ( Associated Press) — Turkey’s president warned Monday that Sweden should not expect their support to join NATO after a weekend of anti-Islamist and pro-Kurdish activists protested outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Saturday’s protest led by far-right politician Rasmus Paludan that burned the Koran, saying it was an insult to everyone, mainly Muslims. The president was particularly angry with the Swedish authorities for allowing the demonstration outside the embassy under the “protection” of security forces.
In his first comments regarding the protests, Erdogan said, “It is clear that those who allowed such despicable things to happen in front of our embassy will no longer ask us in any way regarding their application to join NATO.” Can’t expect donations.” Weekend. He said that Sweden should have made the consequences count by allowing the Paludan demonstration.
The burning of Islam’s holy book angered people across the political spectrum in Turkey as Sweden and Finland were about to join NATO after abandoning their policies of military non-alignment following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will now have an advantage as a potential expansion of the world’s largest military alliance comes to a halt.
Erdogan criticized Sweden for allowing pro-Kurdish protests, with demonstrators waving the flags of various Kurdish groups, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been insurgent against Ankara for decades. The PKK is considered a terrorist group in Turkey, the European Union and the United States, but its symbols are not banned in Sweden.
Carl Ritter contributed to this report from Stockholm.