Turkey condemns burning of Koran in Sweden
Turkey gave a harsh response to Swedish government’s permission to a far right politician who burned a Koran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm straining relations between the countries even further and making it even more difficult for Turkish parliament to give green light Sweden’s accession to NATO.
"Despite all our warnings, such permission was unfortunately given to this person. No one can call this freedom of expression and freedom of thought," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in the southern province of Antalya.
A statement by the foreign ministry also condemned the act:
“Permitting this anti-Islam act, which targets Muslims and insults our sacred values, under the guise of “freedom of expression” is completely unacceptable. This is an outright hate crime,” the statement said, defining the act as “another example of the alarming level that Islamophobia and, racist and discriminatory movements have reached in Europe.”
The foreign ministry earlier on Saturday summoned the Swedish Ambassador in Ankara and conveyed Ankara's expectation that permission for the demonstration be rescinded.
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said he was concerned that the demonstration could further delay Turkey's ratification of Sweden's application to NATO. He added, however, that it would be "very inappropriate" for him to call for prohibiting a person from holding a demonstration.
Turkey also canceled Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson's upcoming visit to Turkey in response to recent events.
Meanwhile, President Tayyip Erdogan’s ultra-nationalist ally Devlet Bahceli said Turkish Parliament wouldn’t ratify Sweden’s membership to NATO “under these conditions.”