Turkey on Saturday issued a travel warning for its citizens in Europe, citing “possible Islamophobic, xenophobic and racist attacks.”
Turkey alarmed by anti-Muslim and anti-Turkish demos
The Turkish Foreign Ministry called on citizens in Europe to avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place. Turkey said recent anti-Muslim and anti-Turkish acts show the “dangerous level of religious intolerance and hatred” on the continent.
Turkey has been angered by far-right activist Rasmus Paludan setting a Quran on fire in Sweden and Denmark. Another far-right activist desecrated the holy book as a provocative act in the Netherlands, leading Turkey to summon the Dutch envoy.
The Turkish government was also enraged by a recent Kurdish protest in Sweden which showed an effigy of Recep Tayyip Erdogan being strung up. Turkey believes those protests have links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is also recognized as a terrorist group by the US and EU.
In addition, Turkey released a separate travel warning for the US, citing “verbal and physical attacks against foreigners and acts of racism committed throughout the United States.”
Nordic countries update travel advice for Turkey
The travel warnings from Turkey come after similar moves from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Those four European countries updated travel advice for Turkey and also called on their citizens to avoid protests in the Mediterranean country.
Turks have protested in front of the Swedish Embassy in Ankara and the Consulate General in Istanbul, after far-right demonstrations in Stockholm.
“We want to make Swedes in Turkey aware that further manifestations may occur,” the Swedish Foreign Ministry said on its website.
The Quran burning in Stockholm has hampered Sweden’s bid to join the NATO alliance. Turkey, a NATO member, has said it would not support Sweden’s application to join the defense alliance after the far-right protest.
Under current rules, all 30 members of NATO must agree in order for a new country to join the transatlantic defense pact.
Finland, which had applied for NATO accession with Sweden, has suggested it may join the alliance without its Nordic neighbor.
wd/dj (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)