Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu on Monday said that Turkey may show a different approach to Finland’s NATO bid than Sweden’s.
Çavuşoğlu told reporters in a joint press conference with his Portuguese counterpart Joao Gomes Cravinho in capital Ankara that Turkey is ready to assess Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership individually.
“I think it would be fair to distinguish between a problematic country and a less problematic country,” the Turkish official said.
Çavuşoğlu’s speech came after outrage was sparked when a right-wing protester burnt a Quran near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm on 21 January. Ankara says the Nordic countries, particularly Sweden, need to do more to secure Turkey’s backing, especially in the wake of the demonstrations in Stockholm.
The minister’s comments reflected comments made by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who said on Sunday that Sweden will be shocked if Turkey responds ‘differently’ to Finland’s NATO bid.
Meanwhile, Finnish media outlets announced on Tuesday that the police would not allow the burning of holy books such as the Quran in public places, following the strict protest appeared by Turkey against Sweden.
Turkey threatens to use its veto power against the applications unless the two Nordic countries take action against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and what Turkey sees as PKK-affiliated groups.
In order for Ankara to lift its veto over Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership bids, the two Nordic countries are expected to hand over nearly 130 people Turkey sees as terrorists.