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News   /   Turkey

Turkey summons Dutch envoy over desecration of Quran in anti-Islam protest

Turkish Foreign Ministry in Ankara (File photo)

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has summoned the Dutch ambassador to Ankara over an anti-Islam protest in The Hague, during which a copy of the Muslim holy book Quran was torn apart.

The ministry called in Joep Wijnands on Tuesday to condemn in the strongest terms possible the desecration of Quran in the Dutch city, after Edwin Wagensveld of the far-right anti-Islam group Pegida tore pages out of the Muslim holy book in front of the temporary Tweede Kamer building.

“We condemned and protested this heinous and despicable act, and demanded that the Netherlands not allow such provocative acts,” the ministry said in a statement.

It further referred to a Quran burning by a Danish-Swedish extremist politician in the Swedish capital city of Stockholm over the weekend, saying “This makes clear that Islamophobia, discrimination, and xenophobia know no borders in Europe.”

Turkish people also held large protests to condemn the sacrilegious assault.

Pegida leader Wagensveld tore up the Quran during a one-man protest on Monday. A video posted on social media showed him walking on the torn pages of the holy book. 

Turkey had earlier summoned Sweden's ambassador on Sunday to condemn an anti-Islam demonstration planned by Rasmus Paludan, a notorious leader of a far-right political party in the country.

Paludan obtained permission to protest on Saturday in front of the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital.

He had expressed his intention to burn copies of the Holy Qur'an. Paludan desecrated the holy book outside Stockholm Central Masjid last year. He attempted to burn another copy of the holy book, but local Muslims chased him off, with one nearly being run over in the process.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Sweden that it should no longer expect his country’s support for its NATO membership bid following its decision to allow “such blasphemy” in front of the Turkish embassy on the Swedish soil.

He also called the Quran burning an attack on 85 million Turkish citizens, stressing that the religious beliefs of the Republic of Turkiye or Muslims should be respected.

Sweden applied to join the military alliance last year alongside its neighbor Finland. In order for the accession to be finalized, however, all of the alliance's 30 members have to lend their blessing.

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