Turkey Postpones Meeting With Sweden, Finland on NATO Bid Due to Quran Burning
Turkey has postponed a meeting with Sweden and Finland to discuss their bids to join NATO following the burning of a Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, national public broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) reported on Tuesday. According to anonymous Turkish diplomatic sources, the meeting was planned to take place in February, the report said. The postponement came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sweden should not expect support from Ankara on its NATO bid after Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan burned the Muslim holy book outside Turkey’s embassy on Saturday.
Sweden and Finland formally requested to join NATO in May 2022 but ran into opposition from Turkey, which cited their support for political dissidents and Kurdish organizations that Ankara considers to be terrorist organizations. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Turkey and the two Nordic countries was reached a month later, ahead of a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain. In the MoU, Sweden and Finland promised support for Turkey’s fight against terrorism and pledged to consider deportation or extradition requests for terror suspects “expeditiously and thoroughly,” and in return, Turkey agreed to withdraw its veto of their NATO membership bids. But in the meantime, Turkey’s parliament, claiming that the Nordic countries have failed to hold up their end of the bargain, has not ratified their NATO bids.