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Turkey summons Danish envoy over planned Copenhagen protest

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Turkey has summoned Denmark’s ambassador to Ankara over a planned protest in the Danish capital on Friday that is expected to include the burning of a copy of the Koran, the Danish foreign ministry said on Friday.

A protest in Stockholm last weekend by a far-right anti-immigrant Danish/Swedish politician against Islam and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has heightened tensions between Sweden and Turkey.

Sweden needs Turkey’s backing to gain entry to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The leader of Danish far-right political party Hard Line, Rasmus Paludan, plans to protest outside the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen every Friday until Turkey accepts Sweden’s NATO application, according to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.

“Denmark has a good relationship with Turkey, and this case does not change that,” Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said in an email sent to Reuters.

“Our task now is to talk to Turkey about the conditions in Denmark with our open democracy, and that there is a difference between Denmark as a country – and our people as such – and individual people who have strongly divergent views,” he said.

One source from the Turkish foreign ministry said Ankara strongly condemned “provocative acts that constitute a hate crime”, which included an “assault” on the Muslim holy book. The ministry asked for permission for the demonstration to be revoked, the sources said.

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