Turkey condemns Sweden for Quran burning by a far-right politician at an Islamophobic protest in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
The Turkish government expressed anger by denouncing Sweden for the Quran burning by a far-right politician at an Islamophobic protest in front of its embassy in Stockholm.
On Saturday, Turkey announced it was canceling the Swedish Defence Minister Pal Johnson causing massive problems for Sweden.
According to Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, the meeting was canceled as it “has lost its significance and meaning.”
The visit was meant to overcome the objections raised by Turkey to Sweden’s NATO membership. Turkey is a key factor for Sweden as it needs the country’s backing for its entry into NATO over growing fears after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
However, according to Johnson, the meeting was postponed after talks with Akar at the US Military Base in Ramstein, Germany on Friday.
The protest, which occurred in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm took place under heavy police protection. The crowd consisted of 100 people and multiple reporters.
Rasmus Paludan, a far-right politician who led the event gave an hour-long speech against Islam and proceeded to burn a copy of the Quran.
He is the leader of the far-right Danish political party Hard Line and last year in April announced a Quran burning ‘tour’ during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan causing mass riots across Sweden.
Turkey’s foreign ministry a day prior summoned the Swedish ambassador questioning the permission granted to Rasmus Paludan.
This is the second time this month that the ambassador from Sweden was called by the foreign ministry after having had to answer for a Kurdish protest which saw the effigy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan being hung in Stockholm.
Ibrahim Kalin, chief advisor to Erdogan said in a tweet that the burning of the Quran in Stockholm is a clear crime of ‘hatred’ and ‘humanity’.
“We vehemently condemn this. Allowing this action despite all our warnings is encouraging hate crimes and Islamophobia. The attack on sacred values is not freedom but modern barbarism.” Kalin tweeted.
The Swedish government is trying to distance itself from this incident with Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom saying that neither the government nor he supports the opinions expressed at the protest.
Turkey has posed as an obstacle to Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership after the Russian Invasion of Ukraine.
The Nordic countries have gained approval from 28 of NATO’s members except for Turkey and Hungary. However, in November, Hungarian President Viktor Orban announced that the country’s parliament would ratify the Nordics’ membership in early 2023.
But Turkey is still objecting by demanding the extradition of people linked with the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK) in Sweden. The organization is deemed a terrorist group by Turkey, EU, and the US.