Türkiye expects 'concrete steps' from Sweden on Quran attacks

Türkiye expects 'concrete steps' from Sweden on Quran attacks

'It is unacceptable to continue these despicable acts under the guise of freedom of expression," Turkish foreign minister tells his Swedish counterpart in phone call

By Diyar Guldogan

Ankara expects "concrete steps" from Stockholm to prevent attacks on the Muslim holy book the Quran, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Sunday told his Swedish counterpart.

In a phone call, Fidan and Tobias Billstrom discussed the recent spate of attacks on the Quran in Sweden, according to diplomatic sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Fidan told Billstrom that "it is unacceptable to continue these despicable acts under the guise of freedom of expression," they added.

Recent months have seen repeated acts of Quran burning or desecration, or attempts to do so, by Islamophobic figures or groups, especially in northern European and Nordic countries.

The two also exchanged views on Sweden's pending NATO bid, according to the sources. At a NATO summit early this month, Türkiye greenlit Sweden’s bid going to the Turkish parliament, where it will face a vote this fall. Turkish officials have made it clear they expect steps in the right direction by Sweden if they want parliament’s approval.

On Monday, Fidan will attend an online meeting of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states’ foreign ministers concerning the repeated acts of "provocative desecration" of the Quran in Sweden and Denmark.

"The meeting will take into consideration the increasing Islamophobia in Europe and the possible concrete steps to be taken against this phenomenon and to establish a common position within in the OIC against these heinous attacks," according to a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.

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