The US assured that Finland and Sweden are ready to join NATO
After Turkey expressed doubts about its favorable vote within the bloc, Washington condemned the protests in Stockholm that caused unrest in Ankara. Coalition Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg questioned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
The US assured that Finland and Sweden are ready to join NATO. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)
The United States said Monday that Finland and Sweden are ready to join the NATO alliance, after the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, argued that Stockholm should not expect his country's support in terms of membership over the recent burning of Korans during a demonstration in the Swedish capital.
< p class="paragraph">“Finland and Sweden are ready to join the Alliance. They are because of their military capabilities and because of the long association in security matters that we have maintained (…) for decades”, explained the spokesman for the US State Department Ned Price, who stressed that “they are highly developed democracies.”
Price noted, on the other hand, that “burning books sacred to many is a profoundly disrespectful act” , adding that “something may be legal –for freedom of association and expression– but horrible.”
“We are also aware that those behind what happened in Sweden < b>they may be making a deliberate effort to try to weaken unityacross the Atlantic and between our European allies and partners”, lamented the state spokesman.
Protests in Stockholm have questioned the support of Turkey. (Christine Olsson/TT News Agency/REUTERS)
In this sense, Price pointed out that, although Helsinki and Stockholm are ready to join NATO, “ultimately, it is a decision and a consensus” of these countries with Ankara.
Erdogan warned Sweden that it should not “expect” Turkish support for its entry into the Atlantic Alliance: “If no respect is shown, I am sorry but there will be no support for our part in the NATO issue”, he declared.
The NATO request
Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg criticized the president's attitude after the incidents in Stockholm.
“Freedom of expression, freedom of opinion is a good precious, in Sweden and in all the other NATO countries. And that's why these inappropriate acts are not automatically illegal”, declared Jens Stoltenberg in an interview on German television Die Welt, condemning the position of the Turkish head of state, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, regarding Sweden.
Saturday afternoon , in the framework of a demonstration authorized by the Swedish police near the Turkish embassy, the far-right Swedish-Danish Rasmus Paludan set fire to the holy book of Muslims, in an act to criticize the Swedish negotiations with Ankara about NATO.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. (REUTERS/Johanna Geron)
The burning of the Koran during a protest last week has added to a series of grievances that Ankara sees as inadmissible. The Turkish government had already protested the destruction of an Erdogan effigy at another previous rally, which has left NATO enlargement in a deadlock.
Sweden and Finland They depend on the approval of the 30 member states of the Atlantic Alliance to join, but for now they only have the approval of 28 –in addition to Turkey, Hungary is also missing to complete the procedures–. The Turkish authorities have demanded from those of the Nordic countries more commitments in the persecution of Kurdish groups classified as terrorists by Ankara.
(With information from AFP and Europa Press)< /i>