Turkey insists that a meeting with Sweden and Finland «makes no sense» in the current context

Archive – Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu – Annette Riedl/dpa

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has insisted that «there is no point» in holding a tripartite meeting with Sweden and Finland after the burning of a copy of the Koran during a demonstration in Stockholm, which is why Ankara has stopped short of giving its approval to the two Nordic countries’ accession to NATO.

The recent incident in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm adds to other episodes against Turkey and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ankara has accused the Swedish authorities of being «accomplices» in allowing this «despicable act», reports the Anatolia agency.

Following the burning of a copy of the Koran by a well-known Danish ultra-nationalist – leader of an Islamophobic and anti-immigration formation – Turkey decided to suspend meetings with Swedish representatives scheduled for this week, including a visit by the Swedish Minister of Defense, Pal Jonson, aimed at lowering tensions.

Turkey’s anger could indirectly affect Finland, which submitted its NATO membership application jointly with Sweden. Helsinki has put on the table the possibility of going ahead with the process without Stockholm and «re-evaluating the situation».

However, Cavusoglu on Thursday denied having received any «official offer» to separate the membership processes of Sweden and Finland, although he acknowledged that the impediments to giving the «green light» to Helsinki’s accession to NATO are «relatively smaller» than those with respect to Stockholm.

SWEDEN REMAINS OPTIMISTIC Despite the tensions between Turkey and Sweden, and the end of talks by Ankara, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has been optimistic that his country will finally join the Atlantic Alliance in the summer.

«There is a possibility, without any doubt,» the Swedish head of government said in statements to the TT news agency, where, although he did not elaborate on possible dates, he advocated that NATO membership «should happen as soon as possible».

«We may have different opinions about where we are in the process, but there is no doubt about the final objective of the process», said Kristersson, who, however, acknowledged that the final decision rests solely and exclusively with Turkey.

Finally, the Swedish Prime Minister warned that «it would be very bad for Swedish security if it took longer than absolutely necessary» to include the country in NATO, so he said he was ready to talk to Erdogan «at any time».