Turkey summons Danish envoy over Quran burnings

Turkey summons Danish envoy over Quran burnings
2 min read
A Turkish diplomatic source said the Danish ambassador was summoned to protest Denmark allowing Rasmus Paludan to burn the Quran
Rasmus Paludan's actions have sparked anger across the Muslim world, Turkey included [Getty]

Turkey summoned Denmark's ambassador Friday to condemn it for allowing a far-right extremist to burn Qurans over Ankara's refusal to let Sweden and Finland join NATO.

An AFP team witnessed anti-Islam activist Rasmus Paludan, a Danish-Swedish dual national, first burn a copy of the Muslim holy book near a Copenhagen mosque and then a second copy outside the Turkish embassy.

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A decision by Swedish police to allow Paludan to stage a similar protest in Stockholm prompted Turkey to postpone planned NATO accession talks with Sweden and Finland.

A Turkish diplomatic source said the Danish ambassador was summoned to protest Denmark's "unacceptable" attitude towards Paludan's actions.

"We strongly condemn the decision to grant permission for this provocative act, which clearly constitutes a hate crime," the Turkish diplomatic source told reporters.

Denmark's Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen confirmed the ambassador had been summoned, and said his country enjoyed "good relations with Turkey, and this doesn't change that".

"Our job is to explain to Turkey the conditions that prevail in Denmark with our open democracy, and make them understand that there is a difference between Denmark as a country - our people as a whole - and individuals who hold a wide range of views," he told Danish television channel TV2.

Paludan vowed on Friday to stage weekly actions involving the Quran until Turkey approves Sweden and Finland's NATO membership.

Swedish leaders have strongly condemned Paludan's action but defended their country's broad acceptance of free speech.

Finland and Sweden broke with decades of military non-alignment and decided to join NATO in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Bids to join NATO must be approved by all 30 members of the alliance.

Turkey and fellow NATO member Hungary are the only members that have yet to ratify the two applications by votes in parliament.

Hungary's parliament is expected to ratify the two bids next month.