Quran burning is the last straw for Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday condemned a Quran-burning protest in Sweden, signaling that this would pose another obstacle to the country’s bid for NATO membership.


Speaking to members of his Justice and Development Party, Erdogan equated “those who permitted the crime” to those who perpetrated it.


Swedish police allowed the protest outside a mosque in central Stockholm citing freedom of speech after a court overturned a ban on a similar Quran-burning.


“We will eventually teach Western monuments of hubris that insulting Muslims’ sacred values is not freedom of thought,” Erdogan said.


Erdogan implied that Turkey wasn’t ready to lift its objections that are holding up Sweden joining NATO. “We will put forward our reaction in the strongest possible way until there is a concerted effort to combat the enemies of Islam as well as terrorist organizations.”


Sweden applied to join NATO last year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the military alliance had hoped the road to membership would be smoothed out ahead of a key July 6 summit.

Turkey accuses Sweden being too lenient on anti-Islamic demonstrations as well as terrorist organizations operating in Turkey, particularly militant Kurdish groups which have waged a deadly, decades-long insurgency.


Sweden recently changed its anti-terror legislation regarding these organizations, but Turkey argues their supporters cans freely organize demonstrations, recruit and procure financial resources in the country.


The incident in Sweden was widely condemned across the opposition, which makes it very difficult or Erdogan to sign on to Swedish accession, even if he was incentivized to do so.


Erdogan is in the midst of another crusade to elevate Islamism and family values in Turkey, which forces him to take a hard stance on any real or perceived attacks on the religion of Islam.


Press sources


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.