Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

Sweden is doing fine in NATO’s waiting room

By Elisabeth Braw

05 Jul 2023 · 5 min read

informed Summary

  1. Sweden's accession to NATO is likely to be delayed due to a Quran burning incident by an Iraqi refugee in Stockholm, which has sparked outrage in Turkey. The Turkish government has called on Sweden to take a clear stance against "terrorism".

The first-ever landing of a U.S. bomber on Swedish soil, participation in NATO’s largest-ever air deployment exercise, constant strategic communications from NATO affirming the alliance’s solidarity with Sweden—life on the doorstep of NATO accession has turned out to be surprisingly livable for Sweden. That matters because a new Quran burning (this time by an Iraqi refugee) now seems likely to further extend Sweden’s wait as Turkey throws another tantrum—and because it signals to prospective spoilsports that trying to thwart accession isn’t worth the effort.

NATO and its members are taking pains to celebrate Sweden while the country waits for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to change his mind regarding its membership.

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