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Ankara has canceled Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson’s upcoming visit to Türkiye.

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The riots erupted in several of Sweden’s southern cities after burnings of the Quran by Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party.

Paludan planned and carried out the anti-Muslim demonstration, posting a picture of himself on social media with a burning Quran and declared intentions of burning more.

Earlier, criticizing Sweden for giving a permit for a planned burning of the Quran, Türkiye’s foreign minister on Saturday said racism and hate crimes do not count as freedom of thought.

“Despite all our warnings, such permission was unfortunately given to this person. No one can call this freedom of expression and freedom of thought,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in the southern province of Antalya.

Cavusoglu’s remarks came after Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), was given permission to burn the Quran on Saturday outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.

“Today, they do not allow the burning of another book but when it comes to the Quran, Islam’s holy book, and hostility to Islam, they immediately call it freedom of expression and freedom of thought,” he said.

According to Swedish law, the decisions of the Council of Europe, and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, hate crimes and racism are not freedom of thought or freedom of expression, he added.

“Because this will create outrage all over the world in the same way. It would be a vile, racist, and hate crime act,” he said.

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said he was concerned that the demonstration would risk further delaying Türkiye’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO bid. However, he added that it would be “very inappropriate” for him to call for a person to not be allowed to carry out a demonstration.

In response to Sweden’s permission, Ankara has canceled Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson’s upcoming visit to Türkiye.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned Swedish Ambassador to Ankara Staffan Herrstrom, who was told that Türkiye “strongly condemns this provocative act, which is clearly a hate crime, that Sweden’s attitude is unacceptable, that Ankara expects the act not to be allowed, and insults to sacred values ​​cannot be defended under the guise of democratic rights.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu

Tensions between Turkiye and Sweden have been escalating due to an incident in which a Quran was burned in Sweden. The incident, which occurred in the town of Malmo, has sparked outrage in Turkiye and has led to a series of diplomatic spats between the two countries.

The burning of the Quran has been widely condemned in Turkiye, with many citizens and government officials calling for a strong response from the government. The incident has also led to a rise in anti-Swedish sentiment in the country, with some calling for a boycott of Swedish goods and services.

In response to the incident, the Turkish government has summoned the Swedish ambassador to Ankara and has called for an investigation into the matter. The government has also issued a statement condemning the burning of the Quran and has called on the Swedish government to take action against those responsible.

The Swedish government, for its part, has apologized for the incident and has promised to take action against those responsible. The government has also emphasized its commitment to religious freedom and tolerance, and has called on the Turkish government to refrain from escalating the situation further.

Despite these efforts, the incident has led to a significant deterioration in relations between the two countries. This is a worrying development, as Turkiye and Sweden have long had strong ties and have been important partners in a number of areas, including trade and security.

The consequences of the Quran burning incident are likely to be far-reaching and could have a negative impact on the relationship between Turkiye and Sweden for years to come. It is important for both countries to work together to de-escalate the situation and to find a way to move forward in a constructive and positive manner.

One possible way forward would be for the two countries to engage in a dialogue in order to address the issues that have led to the current tensions. This could involve a series of bilateral meetings between government officials and representatives of civil society, as well as efforts to promote mutual understanding and cooperation.

Another important step would be for both countries to take concrete steps to address the underlying issues that have led to the current tensions. This could involve efforts to promote religious tolerance and understanding, as well as measures to combat extremism and hate speech.

Ultimately, the Quran burning incident has highlighted the importance of strong and positive relations between Turkiye and Sweden, and it is crucial that both countries work together to overcome the current challenges and build a stronger and more resilient partnership for the future.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Coverpage’s editorial stance

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