Stockholm protests against angry Turkey, cancels Sweden’s ministerial meeting

Stockholm protests against angry Turkey, cancels Sweden's ministerial meeting

[Sweden]January 22 (): Turkey on Saturday canceled a planned visit by Sweden’s defense minister in response to anti-Turkish protests that heightened tensions between the two countries as Sweden seeks Turkey’s approval to join NATO, the Washington Post reported.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said a planned visit by his Swedish counterpart Pal Jonsonto to Ankara has been canceled after Swedish authorities gave permission for protests in Stockholm.

Notably, a protest in Stockholm erupted on Saturday against Turkey and Sweden’s bid to join NATO, including the burning of a copy of the Koran, sharply increased tensions with Turkey at a when the Nordic country needs Ankara’s support to gain entry into the military .

Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right political party Hard Line carried out the Koran burning. Last April, Paludan’s announcement of a Koran “tour” during the Muslim holy month of sparked riots across Sweden, Al Jazeera reported.

Surrounded by , Paludan set fire to the holy book with a lighter after a long diatribe of almost an hour, in which he attacked Islam and immigration in Sweden. About 100 people gathered nearby for a peaceful counter-demonstration.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry immediately responded in a statement.

“We condemn in the strongest possible way the heinous attack on our holy book … Allowing this anti-Islam act, which targets Muslims and insults our sacred values, under the guise of freedom of expression is completely unacceptable,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said .

The Turkish ministry called on Sweden to take necessary measures against the perpetrators and urged all countries to take concrete measures against Islamophobia, reported.

A separate protest took place in the city in support of Kurds and against Sweden’s bid to join NATO. A group of pro-Turkish protesters also held a demonstration outside the embassy. All three incidents had a police warrant.

Swedish Foreign Minister said Islamophobic provocations were frightening, CNN reported.

“Sweden has far-reaching freedom of speech, but that does not mean that the Swedish government, or myself, support the views expressed,” Billström said on Twitter.

Several Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait condemned the burning of the Koran. “Saudi Arabia calls for spreading the values ​​of dialogue, tolerance and coexistence and rejects hatred and extremism,” the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement.

At the demonstration to protest Sweden’s NATO bid and to show support for Kurds, speakers stood in front of a large red banner with the text “We are all PKK”, referring to the Workers Party which is banned , Sweden and the US among others countries, and targeted several hundred pro-Kurdish and leftist supporters.

Sweden and Finland applied last year to join NATO after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but all 30 member states must approve their bid. Turkey has said that Sweden in particular must first take a clearer stance against what it sees as terrorists, mainly Kurdish militants and a group it blames for an attempted coup in 2016. (ANI)


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