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Monday, January 30, 2023

Sweden’s NATO application hangs by thread after Quran-burning incident

World NewsSweden's NATO application hangs by thread after Quran-burning incident

Tensions between Sweden and Turkey is escalating as the two countries are caught in the middle of a diplomatic dispute that has led to a series of protests and demonstrations. In a recent development, outrage erupted in Turkey after a Danish activist, Rasmus Paludan, set fire to Islam’s holy book, the Koran, outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm on January 21. For “state-sponsored Islamophobia”.

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Earlier, Turkey canceled a planned visit to Ankara by Swedish Defense Minister Paul Johnson as tensions between the two countries rose after the Koran burning incident. Turkey has blamed Swedish authorities for allowing the protests in Stollhome.

On January 22, protesters in Turkey held up green flags with a banner proclaiming their belief, “We condemn Sweden’s state-supported Islamophobia”. However, a sign on the window of the Swedish consulate in Ankara read, “We do not share the ideology of the idiot who burned this book”.

The conflict between the two countries began after Turkey blocked the applications of Sweden and Finland to join the NATO alliance. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the two Scandinavian countries applied to join the alliance. Turkey, already a NATO member, has been using its power to block applications under certain conditions – deporting critics of its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and designating the Kurds as terrorists. Recent protests have likely reduced the chances of the applications being approved.

Demonstrators in Sweden burned an effigy of the Turkish president in protest. Polden set fire to a holy book with a lighter by police after a nearly hour-long diatribe, in which he attacked Islam and immigration in Sweden. About 100 people gathered nearby for a peaceful counter-demonstration.

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A separate protest was held in the city to support the Kurds and Sweden’s bid to join NATO. A group of pro-Turkish protesters staged a rally outside the embassy. In all three cases, the police had permission.

On 21 January, Sweden’s Prime Minister Alf Kristerson said in a tweet that freedom of expression is important but that “what is legal is not necessarily fair”.

“Burning books, which are sacred to many people, is a very insulting act. I want to express my sympathy to all Muslims who are outraged by what happened today in Stockholm,” he added. “

Turkish President Erdogan has not yet commented on the incident.


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