Quran burner gears up for action near Turkish Embassy in Sweden
Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan prepares for another act of Quran burning, this time outside the Turkish embassy.
Anti-Islamic demonstrations inspired by the Danish-Swedish politician, Rasmus Paludan, which featured all sorts of violations of the Quran have only gained him fame. For his upcoming plan, he planned to burn the Quran in the wake of a series of scandals regarding Sweden's NATO bid.
Paludan, the leader of the Hard Line party, voiced his intentions to burn the Quran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm on Saturday, January 21.
He argued that the act of Quran burning, an act of hate targeted against a specific religion, is in support of "freedom of expression," which he argues is "missing here and there."
Furthermore, he described the Turkish President as an "Islamist dictator," a point also made by Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson, who is a key government ally in Swedish politics. "I have no problem with Sweden joining NATO, but you cannot demand that we abolish freedom of expression as part of that application," Paludan told Swedish media.
The Erdogan effigy, strained relations
His plans come at the tail of a massive diplomatic scandal where President Recep Erdogan was hung in effigy outside Stockholm City Hall during a demonstration by supporters of the Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK). The effigy sparked vocal protests from Turkey and demands that those responsible be punished.
Additionally, a visit to Turkey by the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament Andreas Norlen's was also canceled.
The action was strongly condemned by the government in Sweden, where it was described as "sabotage" of the Swedish NATO application, which depends on Ankara’s approval.
"I understand Turkey's anger — we would have shown exactly the same anger if it had happened in another country, directed at a leading Swedish politician," Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson was quoted as saying.
In response, Turkey warned that relations could become strained with Sweden unless Stockholm takes a "tougher stand against terrorism and stressed that Stockholm should not take its NATO bid for granted if it continues to ignore such provocations."
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