The protests in Stockholm, including the burning of the Quran, drew strong condemnation from Turkey

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Protests in Stockholm on Saturday towards Turkey and Sweden’s bid to affix NATO, together with the burning of a replica of the Holy Quran, heightened tensions with Turkey at a time when the Scandinavian nation wants Ankara’s assist to realize entry. for the navy alliance.

Turkey’s International Ministry stated, “We condemn within the strongest phrases the despicable assault on our holy guide… Permitting this anti-Islamic act that targets Muslims and insults our sacred values, underneath the quilt of freedom of expression, is totally unacceptable.” He stated.

Her assertion was issued after a far-right anti-immigration politician burned a replica of the Quran close to the Turkish embassy. The Turkish Ministry urged Sweden to take vital measures towards the perpetrators and known as on all nations to take concrete steps towards Islamophobia.

A separate demonstration befell within the metropolis in assist of the Kurds and towards Sweden’s try to affix NATO. A gaggle of pro-Turkish protesters additionally held a rally exterior the embassy. All three occasions had police clearances.

Swedish International Minister Tobias Billström stated the anti-Islam provocations have been appalling.

“Sweden has far-reaching freedom of expression, but it surely doesn’t imply that the Swedish authorities, or I, endorse the opinions which are expressed,” Billstrom stated on Twitter.

The Koran was burned by Rasmus Paludan, chief of the Danish far-right Onerous Line occasion. Paludan, who additionally holds Swedish citizenship, has organized quite a lot of demonstrations prior to now the place Qurans have been burned.

Paludan couldn’t be instantly reached by electronic mail for remark. The assertion he obtained from the police acknowledged that his protest was towards Islam and what he known as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s try to affect freedom of expression in Sweden.

A number of Arab nations, together with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait, condemned the burning of the Qur’an. “Saudi Arabia requires spreading the values ​​of dialogue, tolerance and coexistence, and rejects hatred and extremism,” the Saudi International Ministry stated in an announcement.

Sweden and Finland final yr utilized to affix NATO within the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however all 30 member states need to conform to their affords. Turkey stated Sweden specifically ought to first take a clearer stance towards what it views as terrorists, largely Kurdish militants and the group it blames for the 2016 coup try.

On the demonstration to protest Sweden’s bid for NATO and to indicate assist for the Kurds, audio system stood in entrance of a giant crimson banner studying “We’re all of the PKK”, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Employees’ Get together (PKK) in Turkey, Sweden and the US. Amongst different nations, he addressed a number of hundred pro-Kurds and leftists.

“We’ll proceed to oppose Sweden’s request for NATO,” Thomas Peterson, a spokesman for the coalition towards NATO and one of many organizers of the demonstration, instructed Reuters.

Police stated the state of affairs was calm through the three demonstrations.

The go to of the Minister of Protection was cancelled

Earlier on Saturday, Turkey stated that on account of an absence of measures to curb protests, it had canceled a deliberate go to to Ankara by the Swedish protection minister.

Swedish Protection Minister Hulusi Akar stated, “At this stage, Swedish Protection Minister Pal Johnson’s go to to Turkey on January 27 has grow to be meaningless. Due to this fact, we’ve got canceled the go to.”

Johnson stated individually that he met Akar on Friday throughout a gathering of Western allies in Germany and so they determined to postpone the scheduled assembly.

Akar stated he mentioned with Erdogan the dearth of measures to curb protests in Sweden towards Turkey and conveyed Ankara’s response to Johnson on the sidelines of a gathering of the Ukraine Protection Contact Group.

“It’s unacceptable to not take a step or reply to those (protests). Essential measures ought to have been taken,” Akar stated, in accordance with an announcement from the Turkish Protection Ministry.

The Turkish International Ministry had already summoned the Swedish ambassador on Friday over the deliberate protests.

Finland and Sweden signed a trilateral settlement with Turkey in 2022 aimed toward overcoming Ankara’s objections to their NATO membership. Sweden says it has fulfilled its a part of the warrant, however Turkey calls for extra, together with the extradition of 130 folks it considers terrorists.

(This story has been corrected to take away the inaccurate reference to Morocco within the ninth paragraph.)

Reporting by Omer Berberoglu in Istanbul and Niklas Pollard and Simon Johnson in Stockholm (extra reporting) By Moaz Abdelaziz in Cairo Writing by Ezge Erkoyun and Niklas Pollard Modifying by Toby Chopra and Frances Kerry

Our requirements: Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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