Jens Stoltenberg: Criticized Erdogan’s stance on Sweden’s NATO membership

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Its general secretary NATO, Jens Stoltenbergcriticized the attitude of its president Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoganwho he earlier threatened to block Sweden’s entry into the North Atlantic Alliance on the occasion of the desecration of the Koran by an extremist in a demonstration held on Saturday in Stockholm.

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In an interview he gave to the German newspaper Die Welt, Stoltenberg emphasized that “freedom of expression is a valuable commodity in Sweden and in all other NATO member countries. For this reason, inappropriate acts are not automatically considered illegal.’

On Saturday afternoon, Swedish far-right Rasmus Palundan burned a copy of the Koran during a demonstration in Stockholm, protesting Ankara’s obstacles to Sweden’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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“The Swedish government condemned (this protest) in very clear terms,” ​​Stoltenberg recalled in his interview with Die Welt.

Earlier yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted strongly, making it clear that Stockholm could no longer count on Ankara’s “support” following this episode..

For his part, Stoltenberg emphasized that it is “absolutely opposed to such insults” and consequently “to this behavior we saw on the streets of Stockholm”.

Although Sweden and Turkey signed a “memorandum of understanding” at the end of June, Ankara considers that its demands have not been met, mainly regarding the extradition of people whom the Turkish authorities accuse of “terrorism” or involvement in the failed coup to oust Erdogan in 2016.

Nevertheless, Stoltenberg believes that Turkey has so far been quite cooperative in the consultations on the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, noting that the process should not collapse in the final stretch. “I am in close contact with Finland and Sweden, and of course with our ally Turkey”he added.

Noting that 28 of NATO’s 30 member states have already ratified the protocol for the accession of Sweden and Finland to the North Atlantic Alliance, Stoltenberg said: “I ask the remaining allies – Hungary and Turkey – to speed up the procedures in their parliaments”.

Source: News Beast

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