Publish date4 Jul 2023 - 15:21
Story Code : 599084

Ankara rejects Sweden’s bid to join NATO following Qur’an desecration

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed Ankara’s opposition to Sweden’s joining the NATO military alliance condemning Stockholm for authorizing recent Qur’an burning.
Ankara rejects Sweden’s bid to join NATO following Qur’an desecration
Erdogan further decried the desecration of the Holy Qur'an in the Swedish capital last week as a “cowardly attack” on Islam that “angered us all” in remarks on Monday following a cabinet meeting in Ankara.

"These are hate crimes fueled by Islamophobia," he then emphasized, insisting that attacks on people's sacred values cannot be described as freedom of thought.

"Just as setting fire to a church, synagogue or temple of another faith is not freedom, so there can be no freedom to burn the Qur'an," the Turkish president added.

Erdogan also censured the failure of other Western governments to take any measures to combat Islamophobic acts.    

Erdogan further blasted Sweden for continuing to provide a safe haven for Kurdish elements that Ankara regards as members of separatist terrorist groups.

“We have made it clear that the determined fight against terrorist organizations and Islamophobia are our red line,” he stressed.

“Everyone must accept that Turkey’s friendship cannot be won by supporting terrorism or by making space for terrorists,” the Turkish chief executive then added.

To join NATO, Sweden needs the approval of all of its current members, including Turkey, which has been a member of the military alliance for over 70 years and has its second-largest army.

Though NATO leaders have voiced hopes of ratifying Swedish membership before a major summit in Lithuania later this month, Turkey and Hungary have so far withheld approval.

Erdogan also expressed concerns that the persisting protests against police brutality and racism across France will lead to a "new wave of pressure and intimidation" of immigrants and Muslims.

"The events that began in France and shortly thereafter spread to other countries have their roots in the societal architecture that this mindset has created," he said, referring to the continuing protests and violence in Paris and other French cities in the wake of the fatal police shooting of a teenager of North African descent.

“In countries known for their colonial past, cultural racism has turned into institutional racism," he then emphasized.

Erdogan further underlined that those who previously tried to teach Ankara lessons on human rights, rule of law, and democracy have "today fallen into a deep silence," in an apparent reference to France and other Western nations that have tried to preach to Turkey and other regional countries about rights and freedoms during brief social unrests or violent riots.
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