Ankara has indefinitely postponed a meeting of the trilateral mechanism with aspiring members from Sweden and Finland, reports TRT
Sweden and Finland’s plans to join NATO are in limbo now that Turkey has canceled a three-way meeting with representatives of the two Nordic countries, Turkish TV channel TRT reported on Tuesday. Relations between Ankara and Stockholm took a nosedive over the weekend, following a Quran-burning protest outside the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital.
The TRT report, citing unnamed Turkish diplomatic sources, claimed that the meeting scheduled for next month in Brussels has now been postponed at Ankara’s request.
A source from the Turkish presidency stressed that it was not a question of a cancellation, but rather of a postponement, without a specific deadline. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office declined to comment when approached by the media.
On Monday, the Turkish head of state clarified that Sweden “will not receive any support from us regarding NATO“due to Stockholm’s lack of respect for the”confession of the Republic of Turkey or Muslims.”
His remarks came after Swedish authorities on Saturday authorized an anti-Islam stunt outside the Turkish diplomatic mission in Stockholm. Danish-Swedish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of the Muslim holy book during the event.
Additionally, Kurdish activists previously hung an effigy of President Erdogan from a lamppost in Stockholm.
While Swedish authorities condemned Paludan’s controversial performance, they insisted they had to allow the protest in line with the country’s policy.broad freedom of expression.”
The Turkish president rejected this argument, suggesting that Stockholm should “leave the defense of their country to the same members of terrorist and Islamophobic organizations.”
Sweden and Finland both applied to join NATO in May 2022 following the Russian military offensive against Ukraine.
To be accepted into the bloc, both countries need the unanimous support of all current member states. While most have backed the offers, Turkey and Hungary have yet to do so.
Ankara made its consent conditional on Stockholm and Helsinki lifting arms embargoes they had previously imposed on Turkey. On top of that, President Erdogan demanded that they stop harboring members of groups considered terrorist by Ankara.
Although Sweden and Finland pledged to address those concerns, Turkey said it was not entirely happy with the progress.