Turkey condemns Koran burning in Stockholm, Sweden

Turkey has strongly condemned the burning of a copy of the Koran during a protest in Stockholm on Saturday.

A leader of a right-wing group burned the Islamic holy book in front of the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital.

Turkey's foreign ministry immediately released a statement condemning, in the strongest possible terms, what it calls "the vile attack." The statement calls the book burning an "outright hate crime."

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom wrote on Twitter that "Sweden has a far-reaching freedom of expression, but it does not imply that the Swedish Government, or myself, support the opinions expressed."

Sweden and Finland have applied to join the NATO military alliance following Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

Turkey has been demanding the two Nordic countries undertake anti-terrorism measures, among other conditions for Ankara to approve their NATO membership. The Turkish government accuses both countries of harboring separatist Kurdish militants.

Ankara is hardening its stance against Sweden's accession to the alliance.

Turkey canceled a meeting of its defense minister and his Swedish counterpart scheduled on next Friday in response to the Swedish government's permission to the protest.