ISTANBUL   –   Turkish President Recep Tayyip Er­dogan warned Sweden on Tuesday that it should not expect his backing to join NATO following the burning of the Holy Quran outside Ankara’s embassy in Stockholm.

Erdogan’s furious comments fur­ther distanced the prospects of Swe­den and Finland joining the Western defence alliance before Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary polls in May. Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO members not to have rat­ified the Nordic neighbours’ historic decision to break their tradition of military non-alignment in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has promised that his parlia­ment would approve the two bids next month.

While, Türkiye on Tuesday sum­moned the Dutch ambassador in Ankara Joep Wijnands over “a vile attack” on Holy Quran in The Hague. “We con­demn in the stron­gest possible terms the vile attack of an anti-Islamic per­son in The Hague, Netherlands, on January 22, target­ing our holy book, the Qur’an,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“This despicable act, which, after Sweden, took place this time in the Netherlands, insulting our sacred values and containing a hate crime, is a clear declaration that Islamopho­bia, discrimination and xenophobia know no bounds in Europe,” it added. These actions directly target the fun­damental rights and freedoms, moral values and social tolerance of not only Muslims but all humanity and it also harms the culture of living together in peace, the statement stressed.

Ambassador Joep Wijnands was told that Türkiye condemns “the hei­nous and despicable act.”


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