Swedish track and field teams will be accompanied by security during the European Athletics Indoor Championships, which will be held in İstanbul March 2-5, Dagens Nyheter reported.
Kajsa Bergqvist, head of the Swedish Athletics Federation, held a press conference on Tuesday at which he confirmed the participation of Swedish athletes in the championships in İstanbul.
Bergqvist said they have not yet discussed concerns about their participation with the authorities but added that the team will travel to Turkey with a person responsible for its security.
The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently urged its citizens in Turkey to avoid large gatherings due to ongoing protests over the burning of the Quran by Rasmus Paludan from the far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party on January 21.
In a letter the Swedish federation asked the European Athletics Federation to consider the seriousness of the situation and provide a safety plan for its team, especially in terms of accommodation and transportation.
Carl Bengtström, one of the Swedish athletes who will travel to Turkey, said the national team should not wear clothes or jerseys bearing the Swedish flag when they go out.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced last week that Sweden should not expect Turkey to support its request to join NATO. The news came after the Quran burning, which he called an insult to all, not the least to Muslims.
Muslims consider the Quran the sacred word of God and view any intentional damage or show of disrespect towards it as deeply offensive.
The burning of the Quran has further heightened tensions between Turkey and Sweden, which have increased due to Turkey’s opposition to Sweden joining the NATO military alliance.