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Sweden, The Quran, and NATO

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When Sweden announced in May that it wanted to join NATO, much of the world treated its membership as a done deal. Then, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reminded us that NATO’s requirement of unanimous consent gave him veto power.

A month later, an incident in Stockholm appeared to fuel Erdogan’s resistance to Sweden’s accession. An Iraqi-born expat publicly burned a copy of the Quran in the capital, an act Sweden’s government insisted it was powerless to forbid under Swedish law. This angered governments, leaders, and citizens across the Muslim world, including Erdogan.

Then, at last week’s NATO Summit in Vilnius, Erdogan surprised the world by announcing that Turkey would not stand in Sweden’s way. A grateful Biden administration responded with a pledge to send Turkey F-16 fighter jets that Erdogan badly wants. Again the world’s media declared that Sweden’s path was certain … until Erdogan added that Turkey’s parliament wouldn’t provide final signoff until October.

On Thursday, Quran-desecrating protesters reappeared in Stockholm and publicly damaged a book they said was the Quran. Rioters in Iraq responded by storming the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad and setting it on fire, and the Iraqi government expelled the Swedish ambassador. Governments in Europe fumed at the Iraqi government’s failure to protect the Embassy.

And now? We’re left with a group of protesters in Sweden who’ve discovered they can generate international headlines whenever they want, a political issue that continues to pit European and Muslim governments against one another, and the reality that, with those American F-16s still on the runway, Sweden’s membership in NATO will continue to depend on the goodwill of Turkey’s government for at least several more months.

Source : Gzero

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