Finland Suggests Quran-Burning Is Kremlin Plot To Sabotage Sweden's NATO Bid
From Politico to Vice to various news agencies, mainstream media is busy echoing the conspiracy theories and wild speculations of some Western officials - with the latest being based on allegations by Finland’s foreign minister...
"Finland’s foreign minister hinted that Russia may have been involved in last week’s Koran-burning protest that threatens to derail Sweden’s accession to NATO," Bloomberg writes.
FM Pekka Haavisto said over the weekend that the episode "raises the question of whether some third party is seeking to stir the pot — for example Russia — or some other party opposing the NATO membership and looking to provoke to achieve that. This is unforgivable."
Here's what Politico also wrote on Saturday: "Unfortunately, various activists in Sweden, some Kremlin linked, then decided to exploit this highly fraught situation, and by aggravating Erdoğan and Turkey, they’ve now helped turn the country’s NATO accession from virtually guaranteed to one that’s now in serious jeopardy — and other countries should learn from this mess."
Turkey has suspended all high-level talks with Sweden related to its NATO application, and more recently suggested that Finland could be accepted alone, without its Scandinavian partner.
President Erdogan and his top officials expressed outrage that the Quran-burning activist Rasmus Paludan, who is leader of Danish far-right political party Hard Line, has had police protection during what are at this point multiple Quran-burning demonstrations over the past week-and-a-half.
Finland has still voiced that it wants to stick by Sweden in their joint NATO bids, and hopes to receive approval to join the military alliance by July, according to Monday statements. Turkey has remained the big veto standing in the way.
One key and obvious problem in presenting Paludan's latest Quran-burnings as part of some high level Kremlin sponsored plot to derail Sweden's NATO bid is that he's been well-known going back years as holding highly controversial, anti-Islam demonstrations featuring Koran-burnings.
This has actually happened in multiple northern European countries, to the point that some have imposed temporary bans on his entering their borders. In past decades, similar incidents have provoked fury and media attention in the United States as well, for example in the case of Florida pastor Terry Jones. This hugely controversial phenomenon, part of some fringe far-right movements, hardly needs 'Russian influence' for it to be a thing.