Protesters voiced concerns over Swedish-Turkish negotiations around NATO membership, and urged Swedish officials not to “surrender politics to Turkey’s dictatorship”, as thousands gathered in Stockholm on Sunday to protest against Sweden’s NATO accession and its new anti-terror law.
The demonstration, organised by the Alliance Against NATO, the Swedish Solidarity Committee for Rojava (Rojavakommittéerna), the Left Party, the Democratic Kurdish Community Centre in Sweden (NCDK-S) and Everything For Everyone Association (Förbundet Allt åt alla), aimed to show support for Kurds and democratic forces in Turkey and to voice opposition to Swedish NATO accession. Among the participants, a significant number of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) flags and placards of the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan were visible, despite calls from Turkish authorities for Swedish authorities that they be disallowed.
Left Party MP Daniel Riazat, spoke at the demonstration expressing his concerns over Swedish-Turkish negotiations around NATO membership, saying “We are here to tell [Swedish Prime Minister] Ulf Kristersson and [Swedish Foreign Minister] Tobias Billström not to surrender politics to Turkey’s dictatorship: it is up to the Swedish people to decide.”
‘Hamit’, a member of the NCDK-S, shed light on the background and implications of the law during an interview with MedyaNews. He explained that the development of the law can even be traced back to the assassination of Olof Palme in 1986, for which the PKK was falsely held responsible in an attempt to label it as a terrorist organisation. Hamit argued against this classification saying, “Even they themselves know that the PKK is a movement that protects human dignity.”
Hamit further said that the demonstration and march aimed to challenge the new law and Turkey’s influence, conveying a resolute message that the Kurdish people and their left-wing socialist allies refuse to submit to laws they consider unjust. He also said that the NATO accession and the anti-terror law are against Sweden’s centuries old image of neutrality and support for peace.
Meanwhile, Kristersson’s assignment of former prime minister Carl Bildt to attend Erdoğan’s swearing-in ceremony on 4 June on his behalf sparked controversy. Bildt’s subsequent tweet, seemingly expressing congratulations, drew criticism from Swedish Left Party deputy Håkan Svenneling, who quoted Bildt, expressing disappointment over Sweden’s apparent acceptance of unfair elections in Turkey and its perceived prioritisation of NATO membership. Svenneling remarked, “Carl Bildt’s attendance at today’s presidential swearing-in ceremony signals that Sweden thinks it has no problem with unfair elections [in Turkey] where the opposition never has a real chance of winning. It is tragic to see that the government continues to crawl for NATO membership.”