Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted Sweden’s NATO membership could be delayed if it doesn’t stop Koran burnings that anger his conservative support base.
(Bloomberg) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted Sweden’s NATO membership could be delayed if it doesn’t stop Koran burnings that anger his conservative support base.
“Sweden must first of all take care of the streets of Stockholm. If they don’t take care of their streets, if these attacks on the things we hold sacred continue, then they shouldn’t blame us,” Erdogan said on Sunday on his way to Turkey from Hungary, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO members yet to approve Sweden’s membership. Erdogan agreed to support the bid in July but parliament still needs to pass it into law. The legislature won’t resume work until October, though its foreign affairs committee can start discussions sooner if asked by the government.
“We can’t know how long the debates at the parliament or committees will take about this issue or when it will be passed,” Erdogan said.
Smooth parliamentary approval depends on support from Erdogan’s nationalist allies, the Nationalist Movement Party, who have called for Sweden to do more to counter terrorism and stop anti-Islam demonstrations.
–With assistance from Ugur Yilmaz.
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