Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that his country could give Finland a "different message" that would shock Sweden about joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
This came in statements Erdogan made during a meeting with a youth gathering in Bilecik, central Turkey.
The Turkish president said: "We can give Finland a different message if necessary, and this will shock Sweden," referring to the possibility of Ankara's approval of Helsinki's accession without Stockholm to NATO.
He added, "Did they destroy Islam by burning the Qur'an (in Sweden)? They only revealed the extent of the corruption that spread among them."
The burning of the Danish-Swedish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan, a copy of the Noble Qur’an, last week angered Ankara, and was met with massive protests in Turkey and the Islamic world.
President Erdogan said - two days after the incident that Sweden could no longer count on "Turkey's support after this incident (the burning of the Qur'an)", adding - in a speech he delivered after a government meeting at the presidential complex in Ankara - "If you do not respect the religious beliefs of Turkey or Muslims, Do not expect any support from us regarding your membership in NATO.
In contrast to Sweden, in recent months Turkey has expressed no major objections to Finland joining NATO.
Last Tuesday, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said that his country should study the possibility of joining NATO without Sweden, a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out Ankara's support for Sweden's candidacy for NATO membership.
Sweden and Finland are seeking to ensure that Turkey ratifies their application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which requires the approval of all its 30 member states.
And in May 2022, the two Scandinavian countries submitted their candidacy simultaneously at NATO headquarters in the Belgian capital, Brussels, in a direct result of Russia's ongoing war against its neighbor Ukraine.