Sweden’s bid to join NATO faces a dead end after a far-right rally burned a Koran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
Sweden’s bid to join NATO is pending, amid tensions with Turkey over Ankara’s demands to hand over Kurdish militants and prevent rallies attacking its leadership.
Tensions came to a head on Saturday when the leader of a far-right Danish party burned a Koran during a protest in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
Ahead of the rally, Ankara said it would cancel a visit by Sweden’s defense minister, aimed at overcoming opposition from Turkey to its NATO membership, whose foreign minister had called for the rally to be banned.
Sweden needs Turkey’s backing to join NATO as European concerns grow over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The following are the recent relations between Turkey and Spain:
May 12, 2022
Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin have announced that Finland must apply “without delay” to join the NATO military alliance.
May 13, 2022
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara was unlikely to support Sweden and Finland joining the transatlantic military alliance, suggesting the two countries’ plans to join the group may hit a snag.
May 15, 2022
The Finnish government has officially announced its intention to join NATO. Sweden’s ruling party is not far behind.
May 16, 2022
President Erdogan confirmed Turkey’s opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, vetoing a proposal from the Nordic countries to send a delegation to Ankara to resolve the matter.
“We don’t say ‘yes’ to those [countries] They imposed sanctions on Turkey to join the security group NATO,” Erdogan told a news conference, referring to Sweden’s 2019 decision to suspend arms sales to Turkey over Turkey’s military operations in neighboring Syria.
Turkey has also accused the two countries of harboring “terrorist” groups, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is blacklisted by Ankara, the EU and the US.
Sweden and Finland have failed to respond positively to 33 extradition requests from Turkey over the past five years, a Justice Ministry source told state news agency Anadolu on Monday.
May 18, 2022
Finland and Sweden have formally applied to join the world’s largest military alliance. The move requires the unanimous approval of the coalition’s 30 current members. The process is expected to take approximately two weeks.
June 28, 2022
Turkey lifted its veto on Finland and Sweden joining NATO after four hours of talks ahead of the start of the NATO summit in Madrid.
Turkey’s justice minister announced that as part of the agreement, Turkey will seek the extradition from Sweden and Finland of 33 suspects involved in Kurdish militancy and a coup plot.
December 19, 2022
Sweden’s top court has blocked the extradition of an exiled Turkish journalist, a key Ankara demand.
The court said there were “several obstacles” to the repatriation of Bulent Kenes, the former editor-in-chief of the Zaman daily, which Turkey accused of taking part in a 2016 attempt to overthrow Erdogan.
December 22, 2022
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sweden had not even fulfilled the promise it had made to secure Ankara’s support for its member states.
He said a Swedish court’s decision not to extradite a man wanted by Turkey in connection with a failed 2016 coup had “poisoned” the positive atmosphere in the talks.
January 8, 2023
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Christensen said Sweden would not be able to meet Turkey’s demands, but he was confident Ankara would approve its application to join NATO.
January 12, 2023
Turkey has summoned the Swedish ambassador to take responsibility for a video released by Sweden’s pro-Kurdish council that depicts Erdogan’s likeness swinging on a rope from his lap.
A Jan. 11 tweet from the group compared Erdogan to Italy’s fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who was hanged upside down after his execution at the end of World War II.
January 21, 2023
Turkish officials have condemned right-wing Swedish-Danish politician Rasmus Paludan for being allowed to stage a protest in front of his embassy in the Swedish capital.
After nearly an hour of diatribes attacking Islam and Swedish immigrants, Paludan set fire to a Koran.
Swedish police approved the demonstration after determining it complied with the country’s free speech laws. But Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said allowing the protest was “encouraging hate crimes and Islamophobia”.
A group of protesters then set fire to a Swedish flag at a rally outside the Swedish consulate in Istanbul and called on Turkey to sever diplomatic ties with Stockholm.
A day after summoning the Swedish ambassador over Paludan’s latest demonstration, Ankara said it had canceled a planned January 27 visit by Defense Minister Parjonsson aimed at overcoming Turkey’s objections to Sweden’s NATO membership.