Tensions are rising as Sweden and Turkey are caught in the middle of a diplomatic conflict that has led to a series of protests and protests. In the latest development, outrage erupted in Turkey after Danish activist Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of Islam’s scripture, the Quran, outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm on January 21. People in Ankara and Istanbul started protesting the act and condemned Sweden. for “state-sponsored Islamophobia”.
Earlier, Turkey canceled the visit of Swedish Defense Minister Pall Johnson to Ankara amid heightened tensions between the two countries following the burning of the Koran. Turkey has held Swedish authorities accountable for allowing protests to take place in Stockholm.
On January 22, protesters in Turkey carried green flags declaring their faith, with banners reading “We condemn state-sponsored Islamophobia in Sweden”. But on the window of the Swedish consulate in Ankara was written “We do not share the views of the idiots who burn those books”.
The friction between the two countries began after Turkey withheld Sweden and Finland’s application to join the NATO alliance. The two Scandinavian countries applied to join the alliance after Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Turkey, already a NATO member, is using its powers to withhold applications under certain conditions. Banish critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and claim Kurds as terrorists. Recent protests may have narrowed the chances of the application being ratified.
Protesters in Sweden who registered their disagreements hung up portraits of the Turkish president. Surrounded by police, Paludan set fire to a holy book with a lighter after a long dialysis for nearly an hour, in which he attacked Islam and immigration in Sweden. About 100 people gathered nearby to protest peacefully.
Separate demonstrations took place in the city in support of the Kurds and against Sweden’s proposal to join NATO. Pro-Turkish protesters held a rally outside the embassy. All three events were cleared by the police.
On 21 January, Swedish Prime Minister Wolf Kristersson tweeted that while freedom of expression is important, “legal is not necessarily appropriate”.
“It is very disrespectful to burn a book that is sacred to many people. I would like to express my sympathy to all Muslims who are offended by what happened in Stockholm today,” he added.