Sweden should not expect Turkey to back its Nato membership bid, Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, days after a copy of the Quran was burned in a Stockholm protest, the BBC reports.
“Sweden should not expect support from us for Nato,” Erdogan said in response.
“It is clear that those who caused such a disgrace in front of our country’s embassy can no longer expect any benevolence from us regarding their application.”
Saturday’s protest – but not the burning of the book itself – was given prior approval by Swedish authorities.
Erdogan condemned the latest protest, carried out by a far-right politician from a Danish party, as blasphemy not to be defended by free speech.
The Swedish governments also criticised the protest.
“Sweden has a far-reaching freedom of expression, but it does not imply that the Swedish government, or myself, support the opinions expressed,” Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said on Saturday.
Responding to Mr Erdogan’s remarks on Monday, Mr Billstrom said that he wanted to understand exactly what the Turkish leader said before commenting.
“Sweden will respect the agreement that exists between Sweden, Finland and Turkey regarding our Nato membership,” he added.
Sweden, along with Finland, applied to join Nato after Russia invaded Ukraine, but the recent protests have heightened tensions.