Anti-Islam politician Rasmus Paludan burns a copy of the Koran during a demonstration in Stokcholm, Sweden, January 2023. Photo/REUTERS
STOCKHOLM – The Swedish court’s ruling said the demonstration with burning copies of the Qur’an protected by the constitution. The ruling blamed Stockholm police for denying permission for such a demonstration outside the Turkish and Iraqi embassies earlier this year.
The Swedish Administrative Court’s decision was sharply criticized by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. He compared the ruling to Nazi Germany’s past, as it conjures strong images of book burnings and concentration camps.
Turkey, which has renamed itself Turkiye, sees the court ruling as another hurdle in Sweden’s bid to become a new NATO member.
While Swedish police justified the ban on further similar demonstrations on security grounds and claimed that the burning of the Koran made Sweden a “higher priority target for attack”, a court ruled on Wednesday (5/4/2023) that these considerations were not sufficient to limit the right to demonstrating and that such protests are protected by the country’s constitution.
Cavusoglu did not mince words, directly comparing the modus operandi to Nazi Germany.
“The Nazis started by burning books, then they attacked places of worship, and then they gathered people in camps and burned them to achieve their final goal. That’s how it all started,” Cavusoglu told Turkish media.
Earlier in March, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked his parliament to ratify Finland’s bid, but delayed Sweden’s bid following numerous disputes.
Among other things, Ankara accuses Sweden of providing safe havens for terrorists, in particular members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its allies.
Subsequently, he complained that his demands remained unfulfilled, especially for the extradition of Turkish nationals who wanted to be tried for terrorism.