The U.S. State Department announced Finland and Sweden are ready to join the NATO alliance following a comment by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan rejecting support for Sweden
The United States government has announced that both Sweden and Finland are prepared to be a part of the NATO alliance.
The statement was made by the U.S. state department on Monday, January 23, after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that Sweden should not expect support from them following a protest near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
Erdogan comments on this issue came after tensions between the two countries heightened after a copy of the Koran was burnt in the capital during a protest.
“Those who allow such blasphemy in front of our embassy can no longer expect our support for their NATO membership,” Erdogan said in a speech after a Cabinet meeting, as cited by Reuters.
He added, “If you love members of terrorist organisations and enemies of Islam so much and protect them, then we advise you to seek their support for your countries’ security”.
Both Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, as the requirement for them to be a part of the alliance needs approval from all 30 member states.
Sweden has been facing problems getting support from Turkey. It has demanded Stockholm to take a clear stance on who it defines as a terrorist, mainly referring to Kurdish militants and groups, Turkey believes are responsible for the 2016 coup attempt in the country.
Meanwhile responding the membership of Finland and Sweden, US state department spokesperson Ned Price said, “Ultimately, this is a decision and consensus that Finland and Sweden are going to have to reach with Turkey”.
Price also responded to the incident in Stockholm and said, “Books that are holy to many is a deeply disrespectful act”.
He further added “The United States is cognizant that those who may be behind what took place in Sweden may be intentionally trying to weaken unity across the Atlantic and among Washington’s European allies”.
The Koran burning was reported to be carried by Ras Paludan, who is a far-right leader from Denmark, but also has Swedish citizenship. He has been involved in several such protests where he has burned the Koran during demonstrations.
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