Turkish Foreign Ministry summons Norway envoy over Quran burning
This comes in light of a series of provocative moves initiated by far-right extremists in Europe who intentionally seek to anger Turkey and Muslims by burning copies of the Quran.
The Norwegian ambassador to Turkey was summoned by the Turkish Foreign Ministry for a dress-down on Thursday over the outrageous scheduling of a Quran burning on February 3.
Sources close to the matter said that the envoy was summoned following reports of "a planned action to desecrate the Holy Quran on February 3."
"We stressed that we condemn in the strongest terms Norway's attitude towards preventing provocative actions that qualify as hate crimes. We expect that the Norwegian authorities will not allow conducting this action, such acts are unacceptable," the source said.
Following the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, Sweden, and Finland both submitted applications to join NATO last year. However, their bids for accession require the unanimous approval of all 30 NATO member states to be considered.
Turkey is one of the two remaining countries to not approve the applications, and its ties with the Scandinavian countries have been strained over Sweden's refusal to implement some Turkish demands.
The strained relations resulted in governments allowing far-right extremists to carry out provoking Islamophobic moves, such as burning copies of the Quran in an attempt to anger Ankara.
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Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said yesterday that Turkey does not believe Sweden is taking tangible steps to fulfill its commitments to Ankara regarding the country's NATO membership. Sweden-Turkey relations have deteriorated as a result of the recent contentious demonstration by Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the Danish far-right party Stram Kurs, who burned the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm after gaining authorization from Swedish authorities.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Sweden should not rely on Turkish support for its NATO membership application. According to a source, trilateral talks on NATO membership between Turkey, Sweden, and Finland were postponed at Ankara's request last week.
"We haven't seen any concrete steps, convincing concrete steps from Sweden, particularly, to honor their commitments and to implement this trilateral memorandum," Cavusoglu said at a press conference with his Estonian counterpart, Urmas Reinsalu.
The minister added that Turkey does not impose the idea of separate NATO bids on Finland and Sweden, but Ankara is ready to reconsider Helsinki's application if there is such a decision.
"At this moment, it is not up to Turkey to separate [Sweden's, Finland's NATO bids]. It is up to these two countries, but mainly NATO. If NATO and the two countries decide to separate the membership processes of Finland and Sweden, Turkey will of course reconsider Finland's membership separately, and more favorably, I can say," Cavusoglu said.
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