Quran Burning Incident led Hanging of Sweden’s NATO Application by Thread 

On 21st January, outrage broke out in Turkey when a Danish activist Rasmus Paludan set the Quran, the holy book of Islam, on fire outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm. 

The tension between Sweden and Turkey is soaring as both countries are caught in the middle of a diplomatic conflict that led to a series of demonstrations and protests. 

People are protesting against the act and condemning Sweden for state-supported islamophobia. 

          (Source – Sweden posts English)

Response from Turkey 

After the Quran burning incident, which escalated tension between both the countries, Turkey cancelled the Swedish defence minister Pal Jonson’s planned visit to Ankara. 

Because Turkey holds Swedish authorities responsible to allow the protest to take place in Stockholm.

On January 22, protestors in Turkey carried a banner that said, “We reject Sweden’s state-supported Islamophobia,” along with green flags that displayed their religious affiliation. The Swedish Consulate in Ankara, however, displayed a statement on its window that stated, “We do not share that book-burning idiot’s viewpoint.”

                (Source- The National ) 

How friction originated 

Turkey held up Sweden and Finland’s application to join the NATO alliance that led to friction between the two countries.

Following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, both the Scandinavian countries applied to join the alliance. 

Already a NATO member, turkey using it’s power to hold the applications under certain conditions- Deporting those who disagree with its President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and labelling Kurds as terrorists. The likelihood of applications being ratified has probably decreased as a result of the current protest.

Demonstrators in Sweden hanged the Turkish President’s effigy to express their anger. Paludan, surrounded by police, denounced Islam and immigration in Sweden during a nearly hour-long tirade before setting fire to the holy book with a lighter. In the area, some 100 people gathered for a nonviolent counter-demonstration.

Protests are against Sweden’s bid to join Nato 

supporting Kurds and against Sweden’s bid to join NATO, a separate protest was carried out in the city. Also a rally was held outside  the embassy by a group of pro-Turkish demonstrators. All three events had police permits.

Ulf Kristersson, the prime minister of Sweden, remarked in a tweet on January 21 that while freedom of speech is important, “what is lawful is not necessarily appropriate.”

It is incredibly insulting to burn books that are sacred to many people. All Muslims who are aggrieved by what happened in Stockholm today deserve my compassion, he continued.

(Source – ABP news) 

Erdogan, the president of Turkey, has not yet made any comments about the incident.

In front of the Swedish embassy in Istanbul, dozens of protesters gathered late on Saturday. There, they burned a Swedish flag and demanded that Ankara break diplomatic ties with Stockholm.

Last year, when Paludan, a Swedish-Danish activist who has already been found guilty of using racist slurs, went on a tour of the nation and burnt copies of the Quran in public, he caused violence in Sweden.

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