An anti-Islam activist burned copies of the Muslim holy book near a mosque in Copenhagen and outside the Turkish embassy in Denmark.
Rasmus Paludan, a far-right activist who holds both Danish and Swedish citizenship, had previously infuriated the Turkish government by staging a Koran-burning protest in Sweden on January 21.
On Friday, he replicated the stunt outside a mosque, as well as outside the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen, and promised to continue every Friday until Sweden is admitted into NATO.
Sweden and neighboring Finland are seeking to join the military alliance amid the war in Ukraine, in a historic break from their non-aligned policies.
However, joining them would require the approval of all NATO members, and Turkey has indicated it will block Sweden’s candidacy – in part because of Paludan’s initial stunt.
Even before that, Ankara was urging both countries to crack down on Kurdish armed groups, militants and other groups it considers «terrorists».
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said the Danish ambassador was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry where Turkish officials «strongly condemned the authorization given for this provocative act which clearly constitutes a hate crime».
The ambassador was informed that «Denmark’s attitude is unacceptable» and that Turkey expected the authorization to be revoked.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry later issued a statement calling Paludan an “Islam-hating charlatan” and deploring the fact that he was allowed to organize the protest.
«Showing tolerance towards such heinous acts which offend the sensibilities of millions of people living in Europe threatens the practice of peaceful coexistence and provokes racist, xenophobic and anti-Muslim attacks,» the ministry said.
Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told Danish media that the incident would not change Denmark’s «good relations» with Turkey, adding that Copenhagen intended to speak to Ankara about Danish laws guaranteeing the freedoms.
«Our task now is to talk to Turkey about the situation in Denmark with our open democracy, and that there is a difference between Denmark as a country – and our people as such – and then between the individuals who have strongly divergent points of view,” said Løkke Rasmussen.
After Paludan’s action in Sweden last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Stockholm not to expect support for his NATO bid. Turkey has also indefinitely postponed a key meeting in Brussels that would have discussed Swedish and Finnish membership.
On Friday, Paludan first burned a copy of the Muslim holy book outside a mosque in Copenhagen. Loud music sounded from the mosque as he spoke, in an apparent attempt to drown out his words, according to the Associated Press news agency.
«This mosque has no place in Denmark,» Paludan said in a live broadcast on his Facebook page, wearing a hard hat and surrounded by riot police.
Paludan, who has police protection, was then taken away in a police car.
Later, outside the Turkish Embassy, Paludan reportedly said over a megaphone: «Once he [Erdogan] let Sweden into NATO, I promise not to burn the Koran in front of the Turkish embassy. Otherwise, I will do it every Friday at 2 p.m.
A lawyer, Paludan created far-right parties in Sweden and Denmark that won no seats in national, regional or municipal elections. In last year’s parliamentary elections in Sweden, his party won just 156 votes nationwide.
Protests were held in several predominantly Muslim countries on Friday to denounce the Paludan protest in Sweden and a similar incident in the Netherlands.
Condemnation and protests in countries like Pakistan, Iraq and Lebanon have ended in peaceful dispersal of the population. In Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, the police arrested demonstrators who tried to march towards the Swedish embassy.
Meanwhile, the United States has issued a security warning, warning American citizens in Turkey of possible retaliatory attacks on places of worship or places frequented by Westerners following the fire incidents. of the Koran.