Erdogan did not rule out Sweden’s shocking decision on Finland’s bid

Erdogan did not rule out Sweden’s shocking decision on Finland’s bid

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not ruled out that he may make a different decision regarding Finland’s NATO application, which should “shock” Sweden, the Milliyet newspaper quotes him as saying.

“If necessary, we can send a different message regarding [Finland’s NATO application]. Sweden will be shocked when we do,” Erdogan said.

After burning a Koran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, Erdogan denied Sweden’s approval of its NATO bid. Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström later said the country’s accession process was on hold.

On January 21, there was a Kurdish rally in Stockholm against the country’s membership in the alliance during which the leader of the Danish far-right political party Hard Line, Rasmus Paludan, burned a Koran. Erdogan was outraged that Finland and Sweden “allow terrorist organizations to rampage on their avenues and streets,” while expecting Ankara to support their applications.

For Sweden and Finland to join NATO, all countries in the bloc must ratify a bilateral agreement with them. Only Turkey and Hungary have not yet done so. Turkish authorities are seeking the extradition of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK; Ankara considers them terrorists) supporters from Stockholm.

At the same time, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto did not rule out that the country could continue the NATO accession process without Sweden.

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