Türkiye will make every effort to advocate for certain principles and actively monitor their implementation in countries where Islamophobic hate crimes occur, Turkish diplomatic sources said Monday in a statement amid a string of demonstrations in which Islam’s holy book was destroyed.
The statement came as Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan attended a video meeting organized by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that addressed Quran burnings in Sweden and Denmark since the start of the summer.
“Türkiye will share its existing acquis on this issue with OIC members in organizations such as the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and the European Commission against racism and ıntolerance,” the sources added.
The OIC also welcomed the distribution at Kuwait’s expense of 100,000 copies of the Muslim holy book in Sweden, which have been translated into local languages.
“Member states are called upon to demonstrate their reactions to the incidents that occur in countries where Quran burning actions take place, taking into consideration their bilateral relations, in the context of their political, economic and cultural ties,” said the statement.
The organization also called for the designation of a special envoy to combat Islamophobia utilizing the organization’s current resources.
OIC members also requested the U.N. to appoint a special rapporteur to address Islamophobia.
During the video meeting, many members’ ministers stressed the importance of reaching out to Western nations and international bodies, especially in Europe, to closely monitor the situation.
The OIC addressed the recent attacks against the Quran in two Extraordinary Executive Committee meetings held at the level of permanent representatives on Jan. 31 and July 2.
Following Monday’s meeting, in a phone call with Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, OIC’s Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha urged the Scandinavian country to take action to stop the desecrations.
Danish and Swedish foreign ministers separately wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that they would continue their dialogue with the OIC.
The Muslim world has been outraged since early 2023 at several successive demonstrations, permitted under freedom of speech laws, where far-right politicians torched copies of the Quran, sometimes outside Türkiye’s Embassy in Sweden and sometimes outside mosques in Denmark or the Netherlands.
Hours after the OIC’s statement, another incident took place in Stockholm as two men trampled on a copy of the holy book and then set it on fire in front of the Swedish parliament.
The same men have previously attracted attention with Islamophobic actions.
Earlier in July, they set fire to a Quran in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Stockholm, which led to protests in several Muslim countries. In Iraq, protestors stormed the Swedish Embassy and the government expelled the Swedish ambassador from the country.
During Monday’s incident, the men apparently had no visible supporters cheering them on, the Swedish news agency TT reported. However, there were about 15 counter-demonstrators.
On Sunday evening, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said he was in close contact with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen about the Quran burnings and they were seeking ways to legally prevent such Islamophobic acts out of concern for public safety.
A week ago, two men burned a book in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Copenhagen in an action streamed live online. The men said that the book was the Quran.
Rasmussen spoke on Monday of a “rather high and heightened picture of the terrorist threat.”
The conflict is particularly sensitive for Stockholm, as the Quran burnings were one reason why Türkiye had for months blocked Sweden’s bid to join NATO.
Fidan, too, held phone calls with his Swedish and Danish counterparts over the weekend and urged the countries to take “concrete measures” to prevent similar incidents.
“Allowing such vile actions to continue under the guise of freedom of expression is unacceptable,” Fidan reportedly told the European ministers.
Separately on Monday, Fidan expressed Sweden and Denmark were “now starting to understand the potential harm and dangers of this situation” and assured Türkiye would continue “taking every necessary step to prevent such incidents.”
Similarly, the Swedish government on Tuesday said it would present measures to protect its citizens amid growing concerns in both Sweden and Denmark that the Quran-burning crisis could lead to attacks.
Kristersson and his Justice Minister Gunnar Stromer will hold a news conference on Tuesday to discuss the security situation and present “measures to protect Swedish citizens,” the government said without providing detail.
In Denmark, the Police Security and Intelligence Service (PET) believes the Quran burnings have led to an elevated risk of attacks; PET told public broadcaster DR late Monday.