Ankara has canceled a ministerial visit from the Scandinavian country because of a demonstration by right-wing extremists in front of the Turkish embassy that was approved by the authorities in Sweden. Defense Minister Pal Jonson’s planned visit has now “lost its importance and significance,” said his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar.

The Turkish government has canceled a visit to Ankara by Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson scheduled for next Friday. The background to this is the protests planned for this Saturday in Stockholm, during which a Koran should also be burned. Sweden has failed to crack down on “disgusting” anti-Turkish protests on its soil, state-run Anadolu News Agency quoted Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar as saying.

Ankara is angry that the Swedish government has allowed a demonstration by Danish-born right-wing extremist Rasmus Paludan in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm that was planned for Saturday. He had announced that he wanted to burn a copy of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. Several pro-Kurdish and pro-Turkish demonstrations were also expected in Stockholm on Saturday.

Sweden wants Turkey to stop blocking the country’s NATO membership. Sweden and neighboring Finland applied for membership in May 2022 following the Russian attack on Ukraine. All 30 NATO members must ratify the proposals. Turkey accuses Sweden, among other things, of supporting “terrorist organizations” and demanding the extradition of a number of people whom Ankara considers terrorists.

Fresh strife between the two countries sparked a recent protest in central Stockholm, where activists hung a doll resembling Erdogan by its feet. As a result, Turkey canceled a visit by the Swedish Parliament President Andreas Norlén to Ankara.

Jonson downplayed the cancellation of his visit. “Yesterday I met my Turkish colleague Hulusi Akar at the US military airfield in Ramstein, Germany,” he tweeted on Saturday. “We have decided to postpone the planned meeting in Ankara to a later date.”