Turkey condemns Koran burning in Sweden

Ankara, Jun 28 (EFE).- The Turkish government condemned Swedish authorities for allowing a burning of a copy of the Koran in Stockholm on Wednesday to go ahead, and indicated that the event could further sour bilateral relations.

Ankara has refused to agree to Sweden’s accession into Nato due to tensions over Kurdish rebels being harbored in the Scandinavian country as well as recent incidents in which a Danish-Swedish far-right politician has publicly burned copies of the Muslim holy book.

“Especially before the Nato summit, the authorities in Sweden, which wants to be Turkey’s ally, should put an end to the lawlessness and provocations that go on in their country under the guise of freedom, and take the necessary measures,” Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said.

The burning of the Koran outside a Stockholm mosque on Wednesday was the first to be authorized by since a police ban on such events was overturned in court.

In January, Danish-Swedish far-right extremist Rasmus Paludan led multiple events where copies of the Koran were burnt, including one outside the Turkish Embassy, leading to strong rebukes from Ankara, which has refused to lift its veto on Sweden’s Nato accession.

The minister said it was “scandalous” that Swedish police allowed the burning of a Koran in front of a mosque in Stockholm on Wednesday, saying that freedom of religion and conscience “is the most fundamental human right” and that religious insults cannot be justified within the scope of freedom of expression.

“No judicial decision can legitimize this insult, this situation cannot be protected in any democratic state under the rule of law,” he said.

Nato will hold a summit on July 11 and 12 in Lithuania, at which Sweden and Finland’s accession are expected to be discussed. EFE


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