Sweden/NATO: pro-Kurdish action in Stockholm provokes Ankara's anger

While Stockholm hopes to succeed in lifting the Turkish veto to enter NATO thanks in particular to the support of the United States - support reiterated on Tuesday 30 May by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on a visit to Sweden - a new action by pro-Kurdish activists has provoked the anger of Ankara. This is the same group that hung an effigy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by its feet in January.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson shake hands during a press conference in Lulea, Sweden, Tuesday, May 30, 2023. AP - Jonas Ekströmer

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The time has come" for Sweden to join NATO, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday, calling on Turkey and Hungary to end their months-long veto. "There is no reason to take extra time," he insisted during a visit to Sweden, on the eve of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Oslo, Norway.

Like many of its allies, the United States wants Sweden to join NATO by the next NATO summit in Vilnius on July 11 and 12, shortly after the accession of neighboring Finland, effective since April 4. "We have no doubt that this can be the case, must be the case and we expect it to be," Blinken said.

The State Department said in the evening that Blinken had telephoned his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu directly, who is not expected in Oslo.

It is in this context that a new action by pro-Kurdish militants has provoked the anger of Ankara.

This time, they projected the image of the PKK flag on the walls of the Swedish Parliament on the evening of the Turkish president's re-election. It happened at night, no one would have noticed, if the Rojava Support Committee in Sweden had not posted two photos of his performance on his social networks, reports our correspondent in Stockholm, Carlotta Morteo.


Motståndet fortsätter! I veckan införs nya lagen & på söndag syns våra flaggor på Stockholms gator igen. Trots alla resurser stoppar blotta uttryck fortfarande processen för mäktigaste militäralliansen i världen!

Norra Bantorget 4/6 kl 1300 pic.twitter.com/pJAFTBwFk4

— Rojavakommittéerna (@realrojkom) May 29, 2023

A provocation that this group is used to. By their own admission, their circle has less than 100 people... but their power of nuisance is equal to the Turkish reaction and a demonstration in itself, according to them, of Ankara's interference in Swedish politics, of its desire to restrict freedom of expression.

Pressure from Ankara

They are against Sweden's entry into NATO, and obviously denounce the anti-terrorist law that will enter into force on Thursday, June 1, a law tailored to meet Turkey's demands, which should make it easier to prosecute anyone who supports a terrorist organization, the PKK being considered as such by many countries, including Sweden.

This is the argument immediately brandished by the spokesman of the Turkish presidency: "We expect the Swedish authorities to investigate and hold the perpetrators of this incident accountable." He also called for a demonstration planned for Sunday to be banned. A double blow of pressure to see if the legislative changes will produce the desired results.

>> Read also: International report - Elections in Turkey: in Iraqi Kurdistan, the sky falls on the head of the PKK

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  • Sweden
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