Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said on Saturday that the country’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) process has paused, local media reported.
“The events of the last few weeks have temporarily caused the process to a pause,” Billstrom told Expressen newspaper, adding that the Swedish government was now investing energy and time to try to push forward the process.
Billstrom told Swedish Television on Saturday that the ministry of foreign affairs had put a lot of work into the recent weeks’ anger against Sweden, and that it might take a while for it (anti-Sweden sentiment) to subside after such a big event.
Sweden suffered a major setback in its bid for NATO membership after events earlier this month that saw protests against the Turkish president and the burning of a copy of the Quran in Stockholm.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday warned Sweden that it should not expect Ankara’s backing to join the NATO after the events. And a meeting between Turkey, Sweden and Finland planned for February had also been postponed indefinitely.
In a recent survey by the semi-official Anadolu agency, 92.5 percent of the respondents in Turkey said no to Turkey approval of Sweden’s NATO bid, the news agency reported.