Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a stern warning to Sweden that his country will not support its accession to NATO if it does not respect the Islamic religion, after the incident of burning the Qur’an near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
“If you do not respect the religious beliefs of Turkey or Muslims, do not expect any support from us regarding your membership in NATO,” Erdogan said in remarks reported by the official Turkish channel “TRT”.
And the Turkish president added, “If in Sweden they love terrorists and the enemies of Islam to this degree, then we advise them (the Swedes) to seek support from them,” as he put it.
Erdogan added, “One of the immoral people (in Sweden) burned our holy book. Our job, as Muslims, is to protect and glorify our holy book, which God has preserved and glorified, and to strive to shape our lives based on the guidance of the Qur’an in various aspects of life,” he said.--
And the Turkish president added: “Those who caused such disgrace (the burning of the Qur’an in Sweden) in front of our embassy in Stockholm should not expect any bounty from us regarding requests for membership in NATO.”-
The burning of the Koran by a right-wing politician near the Ankara embassy in Stockholm during a protest sanctioned by the police and protected by the security forces caused a sensation.
The Swedish Foreign Minister, Tobias Billstrom, described these behaviors as “appalling” and indicated that Sweden respects freedom of expression, but it never agrees with “anti-Islamic provocations,” he said.