The leader of the Danish far-right party Stram Kurs (Hard Line) on Saturday (January 21) burnt a copy of the Holy Quran in the Swedish capital.
Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticised Sweden for giving Paludan a permit for burning the Quran, adding that racism and hate crimes do not count as freedom of thought.
According to Swedish law, the decisions of the Council of Europe, and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, hate crimes and racism are not freedom of thought or freedom of expression, he added.
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said he was concerned that the demonstration would risk further delaying Turkiye’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO bid. However, he added that it would be “very inappropriate” for him to call for a person to not be allowed to carry out a demonstration.
In response to Sweden’s permission, Ankara has canceled Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson’s upcoming visit to Turkiye.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned Swedish Ambassador to Ankara Staffan Herrstrom, who was told that Turkiye “strongly condemns this provocative act, which is clearly a hate crime, that Sweden’s attitude is unacceptable, that Ankara expects the act not to be allowed, and insults to sacred values cannot be defended under the guise of democratic rights.”
Turkiye warned Sweden that allowing propaganda activities that PKK-affiliated circles were preparing to carry out in Stockholm on Saturday was a “clear violation” of the tripartite deal, according to the Turkish diplomatic sources.
Last week, Turkiye called on Sweden to take steps against terror groups after a demonstration in Stockholm, where supporters of the PKK terrorist organisation hung in effigy by the feet a figure of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and then uploaded footage of the provocation along with threats against Turkiye and Erdogan.
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last May, abandoning decades of military non-alignment, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which started on February 24.
But Turkiye – a NATO member for more than 70 years – voiced objections, accusing the two countries of tolerating and even supporting terror groups, including the PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO).
Last June, Turkiye and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum at a NATO summit to address Ankara’s legitimate security concerns, paving the way for their eventual membership in the alliance.