“Targeting NATO”… Washington comments on the burning of the Qur’an in Sweden

“Targeting NATO”… Washington comments on the burning of the Qur’an in Sweden
“Targeting NATO”… Washington comments on the burning of the Qur’an in Sweden
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The United States saw Monday that the burning of a copy of the Koran by an extreme right-wing activist in Sweden may be a target for unity within NATO, with Ankara again ruling out support for Stockholm’s efforts to join the alliance.

On Saturday, the Danish-Swedish extremist Rasmus Paludan demonstrated in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, where he burned a copy of the Quran, which angered Turkey.

“The burning of books considered sacred to many is an extremely humiliating act,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

“It is abhorrent,” he added, also describing the incident as “disgusting” and “abhorrent”.

Price considered that the burning of the Qur’an was the work of a person “aiming at provocation” and “may have deliberately sought to distance two close allies (…) Turkey and Sweden.”

Price indicated that he “may have deliberately sought to influence the ongoing discussions regarding the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO.”

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Price defended Sweden’s position, saying it supports “freedom of assembly” and that the act “may be both legal and disgraceful.”

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his outrage over the incident, including Sweden’s authorization of the gathering during which the Quran was burned.

Erdogan announced on Monday that Sweden, a candidate for NATO membership, could no longer count on Turkey’s “support” after it allowed the demonstration to take place in front of its embassy.

Sweden and Finland submitted two applications last year to join the alliance after they had previously declined to do so not to anger Russia, but they changed their stance after it invaded Ukraine, which in turn is seeking to join the alliance without success.

According to the rules of the alliance, all members must agree to join the new members, and Turkey and Hungary have not yet given the green light to Sweden and Finland.

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