Four men charged after attack on Turkish embassy in Copenhagen

Four men face serious charges over a Molotov cocktail attack on the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen earlier this year.

Four men charged after attack on Turkish embassy in Copenhagen
The Turkish embassy in Copenhagen on March 19th. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Scanpix 2018

The men are to face the most serious form of criminal charges relating to arson for attempting to set light to the embassy on March 19th.

Although the building only suffered superficial damage, the men will face trial for attempting to cause “comprehensive destruction of another’s property or to cause chaos or otherwise disturb social order,” according to a charge sheet released by Copenhagen Police on Monday.

The four men are connected to Kurdish organisations, tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet has previously reported.

The paragraph chosen by the prosecution is normally reserved for cases in which lives were put at risk by arson.

No-one was present in the embassy, which is located in the suburb of Hellerup north of the Danish capital, at the time of the incident. The damage inflicted on the building was cosmetic, Copenhagen Police Chief Superintendent Peter Dahl told Ritzau the day after the attack, which occurred at 3am on March 19th.

A nearby police patrol saw two young people fleeing from the scene after several Molotov cocktails had been thrown at the embassy.

National security service PET and Copenhagen Police later arrested four people in connection with the case. They were subsequently remanded in custody.

Leading politicians commented on the incident at the time. Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen tweeted that it was “very serious”, while Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen wrote that “an attack on an embassy is an attack against the state of Denmark.”

The four men, whose ages range from 19 to 23, deny the charges. The trial is scheduled to take place on a number of days in December, January and February.

READ ALSO: Turkish embassy in Copenhagen hit by Molotov cocktail attack


Erdogan calls French separatism bill ‘guillotine’ of democracy

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday denounced a planned French law designed to counter "Islamist separatism" as a "guillotine" of democracy.

Erdogan calls French separatism bill 'guillotine' of democracy
Erdogan has already denounced the proposed measures as "anti-Muslim". Photo: Adem ALTAN/AFP

The draft legislation has been criticised both inside France and abroad for stigmatising Muslims and giving the state new powers to limit speech and religious groups.

“The adoption of this law, which is openly in contradiction of human rights, freedom of religion and European values, will be a guillotine blow inflicted on French democracy,” said Erdogan in a speech in Ankara.

The current version of the planned law would only serve the cause of extremism, putting NGOs under pressure and “forcing young people to choose between their beliefs and their education”, he added.

READ ALSO: What’s in France’s new law to crack down on Islamist extremism?

“We call on the French authorities, and first of all President (Emmanuel) Macron, to act sensibly,” he continued. “We expect a rapid withdrawal of this bill.”

Erdogan also said he was ready to work with France on security issues and integration, but relations between the two leaders have been strained for some time.

France’s government is in the process of passing new legislation to crack down on what it has termed “Islamist separatism”, which would give the state more power to vet and disband religious groups judged to be threats to the nation.

Erdogan has already denounced the proposed measures as “anti-Muslim”.

READ ALSO: Has Macron succeeded in creating an ‘Islam for France’?

Last October, Erdogan questioned Macron’s “mental health”, accusing him of waging a “campaign of hatred” against Islam, after the French president defended the right of cartoonists to caricature the prophet Mohammed.

The two countries are also at odds on a number of other issues, including Libya, Syria and the eastern Mediterranean.