Turkey has angrily reacted to the cancellation of a panel in Sweden about the failed July coup attempt seeking to oust the government from power, calling it a "blow" to the freedom of expression. The panel "July 15th - Behind the Scene of the Bloody Coup" had been planned to take place in Stockholm yesterday. The office of the Turkish prime minister, in a statement late yesterday, condemned the cancellation and said it was the result of "interference by some Swedish parliamentarians." "The cancellation of the panel planned to inform the international community on the treacherous coup attempt of July 15 against Turkey's democracy and parliamentarian system, and the prevention of Turkish journalists from making a statement contradicts with Sweden's tradition as the country with the world's oldest piece of legislation on the freedom of media," the statement said. The panel should have taken place in a small school of a Stockholm district.
Local authorities claim they cancelled the event because of security concerns. "We did a risk assessment taking into account who would attend and what could happen outside. I don't want my schools turned into a battlefield," Bo Andersson, a Stockholm city schools official, said. The Swedish foreign ministry has not commented. Turkey has blamed the failed putsch on a rogue group in the army led by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, charges he denies. The government has launched a relentless crackdown on alleged coup plotters, detaining or suspending tens of thousands of people from state institutions including in education. The purge has alarmed European states, which have urged Turkey to act within the rule of law. Furious with the cancellation of the planned event in Stockholm, Ankara said it expected "the European countries, which unfairly criticise Turkey for hindering the freedom of the press at every opportunity, to show the necessary reaction to these attacks on the freedom of media and expression by Sweden.
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