Turkey Cancels Sweden’s Defense Minister Visit

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Turkey has canceled a planned visit by Sweden’s defense minister.

This comes in response to the Nordic country’s issuing of permits for anti-Turkish protests.

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the scheduled January 27 visit by his Swedish counterpart Pål Jonson would not take place.

He said the meeting no longer held “any importance or point” because Sweden continued to allow ‘disgusting’ demonstrations against Turkey.

Report says Sweden is bracing for several demonstrations as a far-right activist from Denmark has received permission from police to stage a protest outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, where he intends to burn the Quran, Islam’s holy book.

Meanwhile, both pro-Turkish and pro-Kurdish groups are planning demonstrations in the Swedish capital.

In Sweden, freedom of expression is guaranteed by the constitution and gives people extensive rights to express their views publicly, though incitement to violence or hate speech is not allowed.

Turkish officials took to Twitter to condemn anti-Islam activist Rasmus Paludan’s plans to burn the Quran.

The spokesman for Turkey’s president, Ibrahim Kalin called it a hateful crime against humanity.

While the Ruling party spokesman, Omer Celik accused Swedish authorities of protecting hate crimes.

Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu said that attacking the Quran cannot be considered freedom of expression and said he hoped Swedish authorities would cancel the permit for the protest.

It is the latest backlash from Turkey, a NATO member who has been holding off on approving Sweden’s application to join the military alliance until the Swedish government cracks down on groups that Ankara regards as security threats.

Meanwhile, Turkey has summoned the Swedish ambassador to condemn the planned protests, saying protests by pro-Kurdish groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK would be a violation of the joint signed between Turkey, Sweden, and Finland that prevented a Turkish veto for the Nordic countries’ NATO accession in June.

Report says Turkey, the United States, and the European Union consider the PKK a terror group and in the memorandum, Sweden and Finland said they ‘confirm’ that designation as well.


AP/Christopher Ojilere