Swedish Foreign Minister Insists Religion Is Not Part Of Trilateral NATO Pact With Turkey

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 02nd February, 2023) Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom insisted Wednesday that religious matters were not part of a pact that Sweden and Finland signed with Turkey last year to overcome Ankara's objections to their NATO membership bid.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed earlier in the day that Finland would get the go-ahead from Ankara to join the alliance, while Sweden should not bother trying "as long as you allow our holy book, the Quran, to be burned and torn apart."

"Religion is not part of the agreement. That said, I understand why the Turkish side is upset about what was certainly legal but for that matter disrespectful," Billstrom told Swedish news agency TT.

"What is needed now is for the situation to cool down on all sides. We continue the talks with Turkey on the implementation of this agreement at the official level," the minister added.

Sweden and Finland have repeatedly said they will pursue NATO membership together. Approval of all NATO allies is needed for them to join, with only Hungary and Turkey left to ratify their accession. Turkey paused the ratification process after a series of anti-Turkish protests in Stockholm.