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Sweden’s Foreign Ministry urges Swedes in Turkey to exercise caution due to protests

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The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has strongly urged citizens who are living in Turkey to stay updated on developments and avoid large gatherings due to ongoing protests over the burning of the Quran by a far-right Danish-Swedish politician in Stockholm, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing Swedish media.

The Quran burning was staged by Rasmus Paludan from the far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party on January 21.

Several protests have taken place in Turkey since the incident.

”Due to the unrest, Swedes living in Turkey must take certain measures,” the ministry said. Swedes should not only be aware of possible new protests and keep abreast of developments but also avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, according to the Swedish Foreign Ministry.

Swedish citizens should also sign up for the ”Swedish list” and download the ministry’s app to follow news and developments that concern Swedes in Turkey, the ministry said.

The Danish and Norwegian foreign ministries also issued a similar warning to their citizens in Turkey. Danes should stay away from demonstrations and large gatherings that could turn violent, the Danish Foreign Ministry said.

Norway’s Foreign Ministry also gave the same advice to its citizens in Turkey on Saturday.

Far-right politician and provocateur Paludan, who burned the Quran in Stockholm, staged similar demonstrations in Denmark last week.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced last week that Sweden should not expect Turkey to support Sweden’s request to join NATO. The news came after the Quran burning, which he called an insult to all, not the least to Muslims.

Muslims consider the Quran the sacred word of God and view any intentional damage or show of disrespect towards it as deeply offensive.

The burning of the Quran has further heightened tensions between Turkey and Sweden, which have increased due to Turkey’s opposition to Sweden joining the NATO military alliance.

In April 2022 Paludan’s announcement of a Quran burning “tour” for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan sparked riots across Sweden.

Both Sweden and its neighbor Finland are hoping to join NATO, dropping decades of military non-alignment in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, they need the consent of Turkey, a member of the alliance, to join.

Erdoğan said for the first time on Sunday that Ankara could support Finland’s NATO membership without its Nordic neighbor Sweden.

Turkey has stated that its approval is conditional on Swedish steps to extradite 130 people it accuses of terrorism or of having played a part in a 2016 coup attempt against President Erdoğan.

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