Turkey cancels meeting with Sweden after Quran burning
A Danish activist received police permission to burn the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Sweden on Saturday. A separate pro-Kurdish protest was planned for later in the day. Kurdish militants have waged a decades-long insurgency against Turkey. In response, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar canceled a visit by Swedish officials to Turkey that was planned for next week. Swedish officials have said that freedom of expression is guaranteed under their constitution. Police may only deny a permit for exceptional reasons, such as a risk to public safety.
Could Turkey pull its NATO backing from Sweden? Sweden and Finland have both submitted requests to join NATO, but Turkey has accused Sweden of being lenient towards groups that it considers security threats. Turkey asked the Swedish ambassador on Friday to condemn the protests. Turkey said allowing protests linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, would violate a joint memorandum signed by Turkey, Sweden, and Finland. The memorandum had prevented Turkey from vetoing Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO. Turkey, the United States, and the European Union regard the PKK as a terrorist group.
Dig deeper: Listen to Mary Reichard’s report on The World and Everything in It podcast about what Finland and Sweden joining NATO could mean for the United States.
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