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Far-Right journalist who worked for RT and posed in Putin t-shirt ‘organised the Koran-burning stunt outside the Turkish embassy that jeopardised Sweden’s bid to join NATO’
- Chang Frick is accused of paying for Koran-burning stunt in Sweden
- Demonstration sparked row between NATO ally Turkey and Stockholm
- Sweden is trying to join alliance in wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
A far-Right journalist with links to Putin’s Russia is accused of organising the Koran-burning stunt that sparked a diplomatic row between Turkey and Sweden threatening the Scandinavian country’s bid to join NATO.
Chang Frick, who runs the populist site Nyheter Idag and previously worked for Russia Today (RT), is alleged to have paid the fee for the demonstration outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm where Swedish-Danish politician Rasmus Paludan set the book alight.
Furious that Paludan had been permitted by Swedish police to carry out the protest, Ankara cancelled a visit by Sweden’s defence minister and summoned Stockholm’s ambassador.
The stunt further damaged relations as Stockholm tries to convince Turkey to approve Sweden and Finland joining NATO in light of the Kremlins’ invasion of Ukraine.
Chang Frick, who runs the populist site Nyheter Idag and previously worked for Russia Today (RT), is alleged to have paid the fee for the demonstration outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm
Rasmus Paludan burning the Koran outside of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm
Paludan told Swedish media that Frick paid for the stunt and claimed the journalist – whose Twitter feed includes photos of him posing in a Putin T-shirt and showing off a Putin calendar –promised to cover any damages he incurred as a result of the demonstration.
In 2019, Frick accused the New York Times of misrepresentation on Twitter after the newspaper profiled him in a story on how Moscow was trying to sow political discord in Sweden, the Telegraph reported.
Frick said RT was his client but not his employer and told the paper he had been invited to meet Putin. He denied working for Russia. MailOnline has approached Frick for comment.
Paludan, a Swedish-Danish activist who has already been convicted for racist abuse, provoked rioting in Sweden last year when he went on a tour of the country and publicly burned copies of the Koran.
Protesters burn a Swedish flag in front of the Consulate General of Sweden during a protest in Istanbul
Dozens of protesters gathered late Saturday in front of the Swedish consulate in Istanbul, where they burned a Swedish flag and called on Turkey to sever diplomatic ties with Stockholm.
Sweden’s bid has been stalled amid Ankara’s demands that Stockholm hand over Kurdish activists and prevent rallies attacking Turkey’s leadership.
Many Muslim countries said they were outraged by the burning of the Koran on Saturday.
Morocco said it was ‘astonished’ the authorities had allowed it to take place ‘in front of the Swedish forces of order’.
Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also condemned it, as did the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Jakarta said ‘the act of blasphemy against the holy book has hurt and tarnished religious tolerance’, adding that ‘freedom of expression must be exercised in a responsible manner’.