Turkey has expressed its displeasure at an incident outside the Turkish embassy in The Hague on Friday, in which a far right activist again tore up a copy of the Koran, and has summoned the Dutch ambassador to explain.
Edwin Wagensveld from far right group Pegida ripped ripped pages out of the book in front of the police post outside the embassy, echoing similar acts in Denmark and Sweden. Wagensveld previously damaged a copy of the Koran in January.
The Dutch foreign ministry said the ambassador told Turkey that it considered the act to be “completely tasteless” and a “deliberately provocative act”, the AD reported.
At the same time, the diplomat stressed that that freedom of speech is an important constitutional right in the Netherlands. “Ultimately, it is up to the courts to decide if the law has been broken, not the government,” the ministry said.
Pakistan earlier criticized the act, and described it as “extremely provocative”.
Dutch justice minister Dilan Yesilgöz said on Friday that Wagensveld’s act was “rather primative and sad”. She admitted it could lead to an increase in the official terror threat in the Netherlands, as has happened in Sweden.
The likelihood of a terrorist attack in the Netherlands has increased over the past few months but the threat level remains at 3 on a scale of 1 to 5, the Dutch counter terrorism unit NCTV said in May.
In particular, Islamic terror groups have again set their sights on the Netherlands since Wagensveld tore up a Koran in public in January, the agency said.
In that incident, Wagensveld tore pages out of a copy of the book outside the temporary home of parliament in what he claimed was a demonstration of ‘freedom of speech’. He was not arrested.
Wagensveld had planned to burn the volume, but agreed not to after police told him it was forbidden.