After Koran burnings and disinformation campaigns, which paint an image of Sweden as an anti-Muslim country, approval of Sweden's NATO application is already unpopular in Turkey.

The latest announcement was that the Turkish Foreign Affairs Committee is postponing the decision on Sweden's application, unclear why. That lowers any hopes of having the issue settled at the NATO foreign ministers' meeting next week.

Sahlin: "Extremely" by Åkesson

In a situation where Sweden's NATO application is hanging in the balance, Jimmie Åkesson's mosque statement is another burden, and a heavy one at that, according to Michael Sahlin, Turkey expert and former ambassador.

"In this environment, it is extremely unfortunate that a party leader of one of Sweden's major parties is talking about demolishing mosques. It comes as another negative thing in a sensitive situation, he says and continues:

"Turkey also knows that SD has said problematic things in the past. But to talk about demolishing mosques is extreme.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (M) quickly distanced himself from Åkesson's statement. "In Sweden, we do not demolish places of worship," he wrote to TT.

"The fact that Kristersson went out and distanced himself was a necessary minimum. It goes without saying that he must do so, even if it will be difficult for the government and cooperation with SD. But it may not help – the damage has already been done, says Sahlin.

"Chicken race"

Sweden's NATO application is at a standstill. At the same time, it is unclear where the issue, which is so sensitive for Turkey, actually gets stuck. Sahlin likens the situation to a "chicken race" where the question is who blinks first.

"Is it in Sweden, in the U.S. Congress or in the Turkish parliament? Then the Gaza crisis has come in the autumn and (Turkish President) Erdogan has said things that are not appreciated in the United States, says Sahlin.

"It's a totally unclear and very sensitive situation right now, with the risk that it could take a long time, but with the possibility that something will suddenly happen.

In addition to Turkey, Hungary has not yet ratified Sweden's NATO application.