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Turkish President Says Ankara 'Positive' About Finland's NATO Membership Bid

© Sputnik / Stringer / Go to the mediabankTurkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.02.2023
ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkey is positive about Finland's membership in NATO but cannot approve Sweden's bid as long as the Swedish authorities allow protesters to desecrate the Quran under police protection, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.
Sweden and Finland abandoned neutrality and applied for NATO membership in May after Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine. Their accession protocols have already been ratified by all NATO members except Hungary and Turkey. The process came to a standstill in January after Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the far-right Danish political party Stram Kurs, burned a copy of the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm with permission from the Swedish authorities. Erdogan then condemned the demonstration and said Sweden should not count on Ankara's support for its NATO bid.
"Hey, Sweden, do not even try. As long as you allow [people] to burn our holy book, we will not say 'yes' to your NATO membership. Make no mistake, Turkey's position on Finland's NATO membership is positive and it is not [positive] when it comes to Sweden's membership," Erdogan said.
Last week, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said that the country could consider an accession procedure that would run separately from Sweden's after Stockholm hit a roadblock on its NATO path over tensions with Ankara. However, he later denied that Helsinki was considering such a possibility and said that Finland and Sweden continued to act jointly.
On January 24, a source told Sputnik that trilateral talks between Turkey, Sweden and Finland on NATO membership were postponed at Ankara's request.
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