Turkey, Indonesia summon envoys over anti-Islam protests

Published: 03:42 PM, 24 Jan, 2023
Turkey, Indonesia summon envoys over anti-Islam protests
Caption: Turkish President Erdogan.
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Turkey on Tuesday summoned the Dutch ambassador to express its deep displeasure with an anti-Islam protest in The Hague targeting the

Holy Quran.

The Turkish foreign ministry said it condemned "in the strongest possible terms the vile attack of an anti-Islamic person" in the Dutch city on Sunday.

The Dutch public broadcaster NOS said Edwin Wagensveld, who heads the Dutch chapter of the German anti-Islam group Pegida, tore pages out of the Muslim holy book during a one-man protest.

Images on social media also showed him walking on the torn pages of the holy book.

The summons came days after a similar protest outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm threatened to sink Sweden's ambitions to join the NATO defence bloc.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that Sweden could no longer expect support for its NATO membership bid following its decision to allow an anti-Islam protester to burn the Holy Quran.

Erdogan's warning prompted Finland, which applied to join NATO together with its Nordic neighbour, to say for the first time Tuesday that it might consider joining the US-led bloc without Sweden.

The anti-Islam protests have stirred anger in Turkey, an officially secular but mostly Muslim country facing a crucial election in May.

Erdogan has seized on the protests to energise his base of nationalist voters in the election campaign.

Indonesia also summoned Sweden's envoy on Tuesday over the burning of the Holy Quran by a far-right activist in Stockholm at the weekend, officials in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation said.

Swedish-Danish politician Rasmus Paludan on Saturday torched a copy of the Islamic holy book in front of Turkey's embassy in the Swedish capital, stoking the anger of Ankara which said it would not support the Scandinavian country's bid for NATO membership.

Sweden's ambassador to Indonesia, Marina Berg, was summoned as Jakarta lodged an official complaint against the anti-Islamic act, Indonesian foreign ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah told AFP.

"Yes, [we will meet her] within this week," Faizasyah said, without disclosing a date.

The Swedish embassy confirmed Berg would hold a meeting with an official from Indonesia's foreign ministry, without specifying the day it would take place.

Swedish leaders have roundly condemned Paludan's actions but defended their country's broad definition of free speech.

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