Turkey expects Sweden to prevent Quran burning in Stockholm: Ankara
Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the extreme right-wing Danish political party Stram Kurs, was reportedly given permission to burn a copy of the Quran.
Mevlut Cavusoglu, the foreign minister of Turkey, stated that his country expected the Swedish government to take action to revoke the permit for burning the Quran in protest in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
Read more: Quran burner gears up for action near Turkish Embassy in Sweden
Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the extreme right-wing Danish political party Stram Kurs, was reportedly given permission to burn a copy of the Quran during a pro-PKK protest in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, according to media reports. The demonstration was scheduled for Saturday at 2 pm.
"No one can call it freedom of speech and expression. Racism and hatred cannot be called freedom of expression. We hope that Sweden will take appropriate measures to prevent this protest from being held," Turkish told reporters.
A senior Turkish diplomat reported that Ankara had taken the "appropriate steps" after knowing of the scheduled protest. Particularly, the Swedish ambassador was called into the Turkish Foreign Ministry's office in relation to the situation. Additionally, the Turkish ambassador in Sweden met with Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom.
The planned rally was criticized earlier on Saturday by Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin, who called it "a hateful crime against humanity." The official said that the Swedish government had approved the move, which Ankara claims promotes "hate crimes and Islamophobia."
"Attacking sacred values is not freedom but modern barbarism," Kalin tweeted.
Earlier in January, an effigy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was hung by its feet at a protest staged in the Swedish capital by PKK supporters, whom Ankara designates as terrorists.
In response to the PKK march, the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned Sweden's ambassador to Ankara. Additionally, a criminal case investigation was launched by the Turkish Prosecutor General's Office.
Erdogan stated on January 15 that Sweden and Finland would need to extradite roughly 130 "terrorists" to Turkey to get the Turkish parliament's approval for their NATO membership applications. The Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson's scheduled trip to Ankara, where he was set to discuss Stockholm's bid for NATO membership, was unilaterally canceled by Turkey on Saturday.
Read more: Turkey needs more concrete steps from Sweden for NATO bid: FM
The event occurs at a critical time in the bilateral ties between the two countries, especially since Sweden is looking for Turkey's endorsement of its NATO membership applications. Following the outbreak of the Ukraine war, Sweden and Finland both submitted applications to join NATO last year. However, their bids for accession require the unanimous approval of all 30 NATO member states to be considered. Turkey is one of the two remaining countries to have not approved the applications, and they're trying to draw as many concessions as possible from the Scandinavian countries in exchange for approval on their ascension into NATO.