“Paludan’s possible links to Russia have been investigated and some links in his environment have been discovered,” Haavisto said. “It raises the question of whether a third party, for example Russia or another party opposed to NATO membership, is trying to incite and provoke. It is inexcusable.”
Paludan was authorized last weekend to burn a Koran at the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. This authorization aroused anger in Turkey. Last Saturday, Paludan burned a Koran in the Swedish capital.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week that Sweden could not count on Turkey’s support at the moment to secure NATO membership. A consultation with Sweden and Finland on NATO membership, scheduled for February, has also been postponed.
Russia strongly opposes NATO membership of the two Scandinavian countries. Turkey has also been blocking this membership for months.
The thirty countries of the countries must accept the entry of Sweden and Finland. Turkey has a condition that the two countries extradite up to 130 people whom it considers to be Kurdish terrorists or involved in the 2016 coup attempt.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has yet to respond to Haavisto’s comments.
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