Key Ally Slams Swedish Government for ‘Indulgence Toward Islamist Forces’

https://sputniknews.com/20230124/key-ally-slams-swedish-government-for-indulgence-toward-islamist-forces-1106634108.html

Key Ally Slams Swedish Government for ‘Indulgence Toward Islamist Forces’

Key Ally Slams Swedish Government for ‘Indulgence Toward Islamist Forces’

The spat between the minority government and the Sweden Democrats comes in the aftermath of the Quran-burning that further soured Sweden’s relation with Turkey.

2023-01-24T05:30+0000

2023-01-24T05:30+0000

2023-01-24T05:30+0000

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National-conservative Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson has unleashed harsh criticism against the government’s handling of the diplomatic crisis that ensued following the Quran burning that took place in Stockholm over the past weekend. Following the inflammatory protest by Hard Line party leader Rasmus Paludan that occurred opposite the Turkish embassy, Swedish government officials rushed to mend fences with Ankara, condemning the deed.Among others, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson of the liberal-conservative Moderate Party called it a “deeply disrespectful act” and expressed his “sympathy” to all offended Muslims.This, however, made Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Akesson see red. In a Facebook* post, he called this attitude “very, very worrying.” According to Akesson, trying to understand and feel sorry for the forces in Sweden who “with reference to religious dogma, want to abolish the freedom of expression” is an “extremely dangerous way to go.”Akesson pledged to take up this “indulgence toward Islamist forces, both inside and outside of Sweden” with the prime minister personally. He also stressed that the Sweden Democrats will never “compromise the cornerstones of Swedish democracy merely because people who have chosen to move here feel triggered.”The Quran-burning and its bitter aftermath come at a key juncture for Stockholm, whose NATO bid at present solely depends on Turkey, which is the only alliance member to have openly opposed the move. Sweden’s potential accession to the bloc has been deferred by Stockholm’s reluctance to grant all Ankara’s demands, which include a crackdown on Kurdish groups it regards as terrorist organizations and a massive extradition request to Turkey, which would tarnish Sweden’s image as a champion of human rights.In recent weeks, the already strained bilateral relations have been exacerbated further by a slew of high-profile controversies. Among others, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was hanged in effigy in Stockholm during a pro-Kurdish demonstration, and a cartoon contest mocking Erdogan was held by a Swedish newspaper. This culminated in the Quran-burning by right-wing politician and Hard Line fringe party leader Rasmus Paludan, who framed it as celebration of free speech.The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned the act as a “vile attack” on the holy book, while President Erdogan warned that Sweden shouldn’t count on Turkey’s support for joining NATO as it continues to ignore such “heresy.”The recent statements by Akesson, who previously labeled Erdogan himself an “Islamist dictator,” may also indicate a rift between the ruling minority coalition and the Sweden Democrats, Sweden’s second-largest party. Despite receiving no minister posts, the Sweden Democrats lend key support to the Moderates-led government and have a say on a broad number of issues. While touted as a massive improvement for the party that long had a pariah status in Sweden, this settlement dissatisfied many Sweden Democrat voters, who believe their party deserves better. * Meta (Facebook and Instagram) is banned as an extremist organization in Russia.

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The spat between the minority government and its crucial supporters, the Sweden Democrats, comes in the aftermath of the Quran-burning that further soured Sweden’s relationship with Turkey, endangered its NATO bid and raised a dilemma between the country’s commitment to free speech and the viability of its long-term political goals.

National-conservative Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson has unleashed harsh criticism against the government’s handling of the diplomatic crisis that ensued following the Quran burning that took place in Stockholm over the past weekend.

Following the inflammatory protest by Hard Line party leader Rasmus Paludan that occurred opposite the Turkish embassy, Swedish government officials rushed to mend fences with Ankara, condemning the deed.

Among others, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson of the liberal-conservative Moderate Party called it a “deeply disrespectful act” and expressed his “sympathy” to all offended Muslims.

This, however, made Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Akesson see red. In a Facebook* post, he called this attitude “very, very worrying.” According to Akesson, trying to understand and feel sorry for the forces in Sweden who “with reference to religious dogma, want to abolish the freedom of expression” is an “extremely dangerous way to go.”

“I understand that the purpose is to pour oil on the troubled waters regarding the relationship with Turkey at a critical stage for Sweden. But there is a limit to how a government should express itself, not least because Sweden has a domestic Islamist threat of its own that cannot be underestimated,” Akesson wrote.

Akesson pledged to take up this “indulgence toward Islamist forces, both inside and outside of Sweden” with the prime minister personally. He also stressed that the Sweden Democrats will never “compromise the cornerstones of Swedish democracy merely because people who have chosen to move here feel triggered.”

The Quran-burning and its bitter aftermath come at a key juncture for Stockholm, whose NATO bid at present solely depends on Turkey, which is the only alliance member to have openly opposed the move. Sweden’s potential accession to the bloc has been deferred by Stockholm’s reluctance to grant all Ankara’s demands, which include a crackdown on Kurdish groups it regards as terrorist organizations and a massive extradition request to Turkey, which would tarnish Sweden’s image as a champion of human rights.

Flags of Finland, left, NATO and Sweden, right, are displayed during a ceremony to mark Sweden's and Finland's application for membership in Brussels, Belgium, Wednesday May 18, 2022. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the military alliance stands ready to seize a historic moment and move quickly on allowing Finland and Sweden to join its ranks, after the two countries submitted their membership requests. (Johanna Geron/Pool via AP) - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.01.2023

Sweden May Become ‘Frontier State’ Because of NATO Bid, Former Ambassador Warns
In recent weeks, the already strained bilateral relations have been exacerbated further by a slew of high-profile controversies. Among others, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was hanged in effigy in Stockholm during a pro-Kurdish demonstration, and a cartoon contest mocking Erdogan was held by a Swedish newspaper. This culminated in the Quran-burning by right-wing politician and Hard Line fringe party leader Rasmus Paludan, who framed it as celebration of free speech.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned the act as a “vile attack” on the holy book, while President Erdogan warned that Sweden shouldn’t count on Turkey’s support for joining NATO as it continues to ignore such “heresy.”
The recent statements by Akesson, who previously labeled Erdogan himself an “Islamist dictator,” may also indicate a rift between the ruling minority coalition and the Sweden Democrats, Sweden’s second-largest party. Despite receiving no minister posts, the Sweden Democrats lend key support to the Moderates-led government and have a say on a broad number of issues. While touted as a massive improvement for the party that long had a pariah status in Sweden, this settlement dissatisfied many Sweden Democrat voters, who believe their party deserves better.

* Meta (Facebook and Instagram) is banned as an extremist organization in Russia.

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