Paludan vows burning Quran weekly until Turkey approves Swedish bid
Rasmus Paludan, the Danish-Swedish far-right leader, pledges the burn the holy Quran "every Friday" until Ankara approves Stockholm's bid to NATO.
Rasmus Paludan, the Swedish-Danish Hard Line party leader and renowned Quran-burner, vowed to burn the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy, on the Friday of every week, in a provocative act to pressure Ankara to support Stockholm's bid to join NATO.
Paludan, whose party operated on an anti-Islam platform and promised to restrict all non-Western immigration, depicted his acts as freedom of expression. Recently, Paludan's political repertoire has included burning and otherwise defacing copies of the holy Quran.
"I will proclaim that this is Erdogan's fault. Now that he doesn't want to let Sweden into NATO, I have to teach him about freedom of speech until he does. As I see it, Erdogan is a liar. When he says it's someone else's fault, he doesn't know how causality works," Paludan told Swedish news outlets.
Furthermore, the Danish leader planned to burn three copies of the holy Qurans in Copenhagen on Friday. Each copy will be burnt in a separate location. One will take place outside the Turkish embassy, another outside a mosque, and the third near the Russian embassy.
It is worth noting that in Denmark, unlike Sweden, Paludan does not require permission to carry out these acts, but must inform the authorities 24 hours in advance.
Paludan further pledged to "never in his entire life to burn a Quran in front of the Turkish embassy again" if Sweden gets admitted to NATO.
Negotiations are meaningless
Following a series of provocative moves against Turkey, which included granting permission for the leader of the Danish party to burn a copy of the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, as well as the pro-Kurdish protest where a doll representing Erdogan was hanged in Stockholm, Swedish diplomatic relations with Ankara have fallen to all-time lows.
On January 26, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a press conference that "under these circumstances, trilateral talks are pointless. What is the essence of the mechanism? To comply with the terms of the memorandum punctually. But the current situation is unlikely to create a healthy atmosphere necessary for negotiations. Sweden has not taken serious steps to fulfill the terms of the memorandum, citing various reasons, like changing laws, and the constitution. Therefore, there is no point in the mechanism now."
On January 23, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "If you allow such actions, then do not be offended, but you will not receive support from us on the issue of joining NATO. The Swedish leadership should not expect our support."
As such, Sweden's bid for NATO membership is facing a dead end as ties have recently grown increasingly strained with Turkey.
Paul Levin, director of Stockholm University's Institute for Turkish Studies, argued that the chances of this changing after Turkey's parliamentary elections due in mid-May are uncertain.
"We can now probably forget Turkish ratification before the elections, which seem to be scheduled for May 14," Levin told AFP, adding that "what happens after that depends in part on who wins."
Read more: Turkey does not consider pullout from NATO: Erdogan's AKP party