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Hungary’s overseas minister believes Sweden’s authorities ought to ‘act in a different way’ if it needs to affix NATO

Sweden’s authorities ought to “act in a different way” if it needs to clinch Turkish help for its bid to affix NATO, Hungary’s overseas minister stated Tuesday, including {that a} latest Quran-burning protest exterior the Turkish embassy in Stockholm was “unacceptable.”

Peter Szijjarto made the comment at a information convention following talks together with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Hungary’s capital Budapest. Both diplomats addressed the Jan. 21 anti-Turkish protest that elevated tensions between Ankara and Stockholm as Sweden seeks Turkey’s approval to affix the NATO army alliance.

“As a Christian and as a Catholic, I have to say that burning of a holy guide of one other faith is an unacceptable act,” Szijjarto stated, and criticized a press release by Sweden’s prime minister that whereas the burning of the Quran was inappropriate and “deeply disrespectful,” it fell underneath Swedish freedom of speech protections.


“Stating that the burning of a sacred guide is a part of freedom of speech is simply plain stupidity,” Szijjarto stated, including that “maybe they (Sweden) ought to act in a different way than that” in the event that they wish to safe Ankara’s backing.

The assembly in Budapest got here as Turkey and Hungary stay the one two NATO members that have not accredited bids by Sweden and Finland to affix the army alliance. The northern European neighbors which share a border with Russia dropped their long-standing army neutrality and sought NATO membership in response to Moscow’s conflict in Ukraine.

Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto, right, shakes the hand of the Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu in Budapest, Hungary, on Jan. 31, 2023. 

Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto, proper, shakes the hand of the Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu in Budapest, Hungary, on Jan. 31, 2023. 
(Tibor Illyes/MTI through AP)

A unanimous vote of all 30 NATO members is critical for admitting new international locations.


Cavusoglu stated Turkey shares Hungary’s want for NATO enlargement, however that it was now “unimaginable for us to verify (Sweden’s) accession” into the alliance. He referred to as the Quran-burning protest a “provocation which is able to take us nowhere, it may solely result in chaos.”

Ankara has additionally stated it is displeased with Sweden’s efforts to crack down on teams that it considers to be terrorist or pose a menace to the nation, together with Kurdish teams. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that Sweden mustn’t count on Turkey’s help in its membership bid.

Hungary’s authorities was anticipated to vote on accepting Sweden and Finland into NATO by the tip of final 12 months. The subject will probably be on the Hungarian parliament’s agenda throughout its first session of the 12 months in February, Szijjarto stated.

Szijjarto stated Hungary has a “clear standpoint” on admitting Sweden and Finland into NATO, however wouldn’t try and affect Turkey both means.

“I by no means urge every other overseas governments to do issues which aren’t of our concern,” Szijjarto stated.

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