Turkey issues Europe travel warning following protests

Ankara has advised its citizens living in or planning to go to European countries to take precautions, citing Islamophobia and anti-Turkish demonstrations

Turkey issued a travel warning this weekend for citizens living in or travelling to European countries.  EPA / Sedat Suna
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Turkey issued a travel warning late on Saturday for Turks living in or travelling to European countries, citing Islamophobia and anti-Turkish demonstrations.

The warning follows last weekend's protests in Sweden, which saw an anti-Islam activist burn the Quran and pro-Kurdish groups protesting against Turkey.

The Turkish foreign ministry urged its citizens to take precautions and stay away from demonstration areas. It also said they should go to local authorities if they face xenophobic or racist attacks.

Turkey strongly condemned far-right activist Rasmus Paludan's burning of the Quran in Stockholm, which he repeated in Copenhagen on Friday. Ankara also summoned the Dutch ambassador after another far-right activist tore pages from the Quran in The Hague.

The Turkish government said there has been an increase in anti-Turkish protests by “groups with links to terror groups” — a reference to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has waged a decades-long insurgency against Turkey.

Pro-Kurdish groups have been demonstrating in Sweden, waving the flags of the PKK and its affiliates. The protests follow Sweden and Finland’s pledge to curb the PKK’s activities in their countries, in a bid to gain Turkey’s approval for their applications to join Nato.

Following the protests, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sweden should not to expect support for its bid to join the military alliance. Turkey also indefinitely postponed a key meeting in Brussels to discuss the Nordic countries' membership of Nato.

Updated: January 29, 2023, 9:55 AM