Diplomatic relations between Sweden and Turkey, a NATO member, have been shaky since an effigy of Recep Tayyip Erdogan was hung outside Stockholm’s town hall two weeks ago. But it was the burning of the Koran of far-right Swedish-Danish politician Rasmus Boldan outside the Turkish embassy that added fuel to the fire.
Jan Eliasson, diplomat and former Social Democratic foreign minister, told SVT Nyheter that the latest negative development represented a setback in NATO’s operation. According to him, “skillful diplomacy” is the way forward.
– Talks with Turkey when the situation calmed down and then continued, so far, diplomatic contacts with all other member states, especially those affected by security in northern Europe, he told SVT Nyheter.
The crisis deepened
Even Carl Bildt, the former moderate diplomat and foreign minister, is of the opinion that Sweden should continue down the set path.
“Sweden must of course continue the cooperation started with Turkey and Finland according to the memorandum agreed upon by the three countries. There is no other way,” he wrote in an email to SVT Nyheter.
And Anders Leiden, a former senior diplomat and ambassador to the United Nations, among other things, who has extensive experience in Swedish negotiations and diplomacy in the world, states that the recent burning of the Qur’an further deepened the crisis.
– There are many agitators and opponents of NATO who see their opportunity. It wouldn’t change anything, but it might make it take a little longer, he told SVT Nyheter.
“just to persevere”
Leiden, like Eliasson, believes that government should “take it easy” and move away from the way it currently operates.
– As I see it, there is a way forward, which is to have ice in the stomach, wait for this, and continue to fulfill the agreement without having to come up with any new moves or concessions and stick to what we believe, that we have a view on freedom of expression that Erdogan may find difficult to accept . So just wait.
All NATO countries except Turkey and Hungary today endorsed Sweden and Finland’s request for NATO.
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