Turkey’s Erdogan slams Sweden over Koran-burning

ISTANBUL, June 29 (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday slammed Sweden over the burning of a Koran in Stockholm and said Turkey would never bow down to a policy of provocation or threat.

“We will teach the arrogant Western people that it is not freedom of expression to insult the sacred values of Muslims,” he told party members on the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha.

Erdogan said Turkey would show the possible strongest reaction to what he called the vile protest.

Swedish police had granted permission for the anti-Koran protest to take place. But after the burning, police charged the man who carried it out with agitation against an ethnic or national group.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan condemned the protest and said it was unacceptable to allow anti-Islam protests in the name of freedom of expression.

A series of protests in Sweden against Islam and for Kurdish rights have heightened tensions with Turkey, whose backing Sweden needs to gain entry to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Reporting by Burcu Karakas, Editing by William Maclean

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