Turkey cancels Swedish minister’s visit due to right-wing protest

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Turkey is furious over Sweden’s green light for a protest outside its embassy in Stockholm.

Turkey has canceled a visit by the Swedish defense minister over a planned demonstration by a right-wing hardline group in Stockholm.

A day after summoning the Swedish ambassador on the matter, Turkey on Saturday said it was canceling the visit to allay Turkey’s objections to its NATO membership.

Turkey is angry at Sweden’s green light for a protest outside its embassy in the capital Stockholm amid ongoing tensions following Ankara’s objections to Sweden’s bid to join NATO’s military alliance.

“At the moment, Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson’s visit to Turkey on January 27 has lost its meaning and meaning, so we canceled the visit,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said, adding that Sweden has no measures taken against “disgusting” anti-attacks. -Turkish protests on their territory.

Sweden’s Defense Ministry authorized Swedish-Danish politician Rasmus Paludan, from the far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party, to stage Saturday’s rally, saying he intended to “take the Koran”, the holy book of Islam, to burn.

Organizers said some 500 to 600 people were expected to gather to protest Sweden’s NATO bid and show support for the Kurds.

Last April, Paludan’s announcement of a Quran-burning “tour” during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan sparked riots across Sweden.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin condemned the planned demonstration as a “clear crime of hate”.

“Allowing this action, despite all our warnings, encourages hate crimes and Islamophobia,” he tweeted. “The attack on sacred values ​​is not freedom but modern barbarism.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström told TT news agency on Friday that Sweden respects freedom of expression.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he hoped Swedish authorities would not allow the protest.

“This permission has been granted to this person despite all our warnings. I hope that the Swedish authorities will take the necessary measures and not allow this,” Cavusoglu told reporters, adding that the protest cannot be classified as freedom of expression.

Billström would not speculate on the impact of Paludan’s protest on Sweden’s bid for NATO, but noted that “anything that unnecessarily prolongs the process is, of course, something we take very seriously”.

Meanwhile, pro-Turkish and pro-Kurdish groups were also planning demonstrations in the Swedish capital.

Turkey on Friday summoned the Swedish ambassador to condemn the protests, saying gatherings of pro-Kurdish groups linked to the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) would be a violation of the joint memorandum signed between Turkey, Sweden and Finland that prevented a Turkish veto for the accession of the Nordic countries to NATO in June.

Sweden and neighboring Finland shed decades of military nonalignment last year when they signed up to join the Western Defense Alliance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Turkey has so far refused to approve their bids, which must be signed by all member states, and linked its favorable vote to Sweden’s moves to extradite people it accuses of terrorism or playing a role in the coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip in 2016. Erdogan.

Turkey argues that Sweden is not doing enough to deal with Kurdish groups that Ankara considers “terrorists”.

The Swedish ambassador to Turkey was summoned last week after a video posted by a Kurdish group in Stockholm showed Erdogan swinging on a rope by his legs.

A tweet from the group, Rojava Committee of Sweden, compared Erdogan to Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who was hanged upside down after his execution in the closing days of World War II.

Earlier in January, during a protest by Kurds, an effigy of the Turkish president was hung on a lamppost. Turkey denounced a decision by a Swedish prosecutor not to launch an investigation and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson called the protest an act of “sabotage” against Sweden’s bid to join NATO.



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