Swedish Foreign Minister Billström admits that relations between Stockholm and Ankara are cool
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström has said that relations between Stockholm and Ankara are “cool” at the moment.
Earlier, Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the Danish far-right party Tough Course, burned a Koran at the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, having previously received permission from the Swedish authorities to hold the action. Later, he held an action of burning a Muslim holy book in front of the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen and a mosque in the Danish capital. A similar action was held outside the consular office of the Russian Embassy in Denmark, located in Copenhagen. The Russian diplomatic mission condemned such actions.
Ankara called on authorities in several European countries, which have not yet responded to actions that marginalize Muslims, to speak out about the trampling of the universal values they allegedly stand for.
“At the moment, relations between the countries are chilly. And that’s only natural. But I think it’s important to focus on moving forward,” Billstrom told Swedish Radio.
At the same time, according to the minister, the recent deterioration in relations between the two sides will not hinder Sweden’s course towards NATO membership.
Billström announced earlier that against the background of the Quran burning events the process of joining NATO was suspended, but expressed hope that agreements with Ankara would be reached at the summit of the Foreign Ministries of the alliance countries in Vilnius in July. A source in Ankara told RIA Novosti that the trilateral mechanism of the Swedish and Finnish NATO membership processes was suspended for an indefinite period at the request of the Turkish side.
Earlier Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto allowed continuing the ratification procedure of the country’s application to the North Atlantic Alliance separately from Sweden, but then took back his words. For his part, Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey had not received a proposal from Finland for a separate application for NATO membership from Sweden.