Turkish President Recep Erdogan said Sweden should not expect support for its NATO membership bid after protests in Stockholm by anti-Islamic activists and pro-Kurdish groups, Reuters reported.
Erdogan criticized Rasmus Paludan’s Holy Quran-burning action, saying it was an insult to everyone, especially Muslims. He was particularly outraged by Swedish authorities for allowing the demonstration outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, which he called an attack on 85 million Turkish citizens. “It is clear that those who allowed such meanness in front of our embassy can no longer expect any favor from us regarding their application for NATO membership,” Erdogan said in his first comments on the weekend protests, saying that Sweden must have calculated the consequences of allowing the Paludan demonstration.
Erdogan also criticized Sweden for pro-Kurdish protests. “You allow terrorist organizations to rampage on your avenues and streets and then expect our support to join NATO. That’s not going to happen,” Erdogan said, referring to Sweden and Finland’s applications to join the military alliance. He said that if Sweden does not show respect for Turkey or Muslims, “they will not see any support from us on the issue of NATO.”