Turkey calls off Swedish Defense Minister's visit to Ankara
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Swedish Defense Minister Pal Johnson were scheduled to discuss Sweden's application for joining the NATO alliance.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday that the upcoming visit of Swedish Defense Minister Pal Johnson to Ankara has been called off following Sweden's failure to respond to Turkey's demands, which involved taking measures against PKK/YPG supporters and addressing the recent scandal involving the upcoming burning of a copy of the Quran.
"We have reached a stage where there is no importance and point in Jonson's visit to Turkey on January 27. Therefore, we have canceled the visit," Akar said, as quoted by the Haberturk broadcaster, while speaking about his review of the NATO meeting at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday.
The two defense ministers were scheduled to discuss Sweden's application for joining the NATO alliance.
But due to Sweden's failure to address Turkey's demands, including the most recent scandal involving the burning of a copy of the Quran, the Turkish minister said that at this point in time an official meeting would be "pointless."
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Earlier today, Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has summoned the Swedish ambassador over the Swedish government's decision to grant permission for an individual to burn the Quran in Stockholm.
On Friday, the leader of the Danish political party Stram Kurs, Rasmus Paludan, obtained permission from the government to burn a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm on January 21.
"Having learned that tomorrow the burning of our Holy Book of the Quran will be allowed near our embassy in Stockholm in Sweden, the Swedish ambassador in Ankara was summoned to our ministry today," a diplomatic source told Sputnik on Friday.
Such an insult to Turkey's sacred values can in no right be justified under the pretext of "democratic rights", the source added.
The Turkish foreign ministry has strongly condemned such actions and is waiting for Sweden to reconsider its decision to allow Paludan to burn a copy of the Quran.
The source further added that PKK supporters were planning to hold a rally in central Stockholm on Saturday.
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