Türkiye will not approve Sweden’s bid to join NATO as long as it continues to permit those who burn the Quran, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, repeating Ankara’s favorable position for Finland’s application to the alliance.
“Sweden, don’t even bother! We cannot say ‘yes’ to your joining NATO as long as you continue to allow burning and tearing my sacred book, the Quran,” President Erdoğan said in his weekly address to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group on Feb. 1.
Erdoğan referred to an ultra-rightist Danish politician who burned the Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm in January that created wide-spread anger in Türkiye and in some other Muslim countries. Ankara has slammed the Swedish government for allowing such an incident and suspended talks for Sweden’s joining of NATO.
Sweden and Finland applied to join the alliance in 2022 after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and signed a memorandum of understanding with Türkiye which stipulates them to cooperate with the Turkish government in the fight against terror.
“Our stance concerning Finland is positive, but not positive for Sweden,” Erdoğan said. Türkiye and Hungary are the two allies who are yet to ratify the two Nordic states’ bid to enter the alliance. Erdoğan has signaled that the Turkish parliament may ratify Finland’s application as Helsinki has fulfilled its commitments. Finland says it wants to join the alliance together with Sweden.
Erdoğan slams opposition over common policies
On domestic politics, Erdoğan harshly criticized the Nation Alliance over its recently announced common policies’ document which covers nine main areas, 75 subtitles with more than 2,000 objectives and targets.
“They even don’t know that many of their promises have already been delivered or are being delivered by our government,” Erdoğan said, accusing that the opposition will destroy all the achievements of this country over the past 20 years.
The president claimed that the opposition sent direct messages to the terror organizations, to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), imperialist powers of the West through the promises it outlined in the common policies document.
“By pledging that they will make Türkiye to return to the F-35 project which is tied to our country’s renunciation of its sovereign rights in many issues, they are saluting those who are making systematic and on-purpose hostility against Türkiye,” Erdoğan said. The U.S. ended Türkiye’s participation to the F-35 project after the latter deployed the Russian S-400 air defense systems on its soils.
“Türkiye does not deserve such an opposition,” he said.
Erdoğan repeats his call over headscarf bill
Erdoğan repeated his calls to the opposition parties and members of the parliament to back a government-sponsored constitutional amendment that liberates women wearing a headscarf in public and private space and protects the family by clarifying that marriage can only take place between a man and woman.
“I ask you, those who are part of this table of six: Express openly and people should know who is supporting the LGBT and who is not. We have nothing to do with the LGBT because we defend the family,” he said.
Informing that the bill will soon be taken to the General Assembly Erdoğan reiterated his calls to each member of the parliament to listen to their conscious and vote in favor of the bill. At least 400 votes out of 600 are needed to legislate the bill. A vote between 360 and 400 will automatically take the bill to the referendum. The opposition said it won’t back the bill because Erdoğan is willing to exploit the matter for the upcoming elections on May 14.__Daily Hurriyet