Erdogan chastises West over Koran burnings
UNITED NATIONS, United States, Sept 19, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Turkish President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday berated the West over desecration of the Koran,
saying that attacks on Islam had reached "unbearable" levels.
Erdogan has for months put pressure on Sweden -- which has welcomed Kurdish
activists Turkey sees as terrorists -- over burnings of the Islamic holy book
that the Stockholm government has condemned but says are protected as freedom
Developed countries "are suffering from racism along with xenophobia and
Islamophobia as if it were a plague," Erdogan told the UN General Assembly.
"It has reached intolerable levels," he said.
"Unfortunately, populist politicians in many countries continue to play
with fire by encouraging such dangerous trends," he said.
"The mentality that encourages the hideous attacks against the holy Koran
in Europe, by allowing them under the guise of freedom of expression, is
essentially darkening (Europe's) own future through its own hands."
Protests in Sweden that have involved Koran burnings have been organized by
refugee Salwan Momika, sparking outrage in the Middle East including his native
Erdogan in July said he would lift a blockade on Sweden's bid to join NATO
but the Turkish parliament has not yet ratified the country's membership.