Quran burning in Sweden angered Turkey and other states

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Turkey denounced Sweden after protests in front of its embassy in Stockholm including the burning of a Quran, carried out by Rasmus Paludan, leader of Danish far-right political party Hard Line. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the vile attack on our holy book… Permitting this anti-Islam act, which targets Muslims and insults our sacred values, under the guise of freedom of expression is completely unacceptable,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement. As a consequence, Ankara said on Saturday it was cancelling a visit by Sweden’s defence minister aimed at overcoming Turkey’s objections to its NATO membership. Other countries, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait, denounced the Quran-burning.

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“Sweden has a far-reaching freedom of expression, but it does not imply that the Swedish Government, or myself, support the opinions expressed,” Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom wrote on Twitter in the same day. Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar denounced Sweden’s government for failing to take measures against “disgusting” anti-Turkish protests. Turkey argues that Sweden is not doing enough to crack down on Kurdish groups that Ankara views as “terrorists”.