Turkey’s request to extradite Swedish citizens shows that Ankara has no understanding of the rule of law in Sweden, Swedish opposition party the Liberals’ deputy and co-chair of the Kurdish Friendship Group in Riksdag Fredrik Malm told Dexile Şemo from the Denge Amerika in an interview on Tuesday.
Sweden “cannot just respond to requests from Ankara”, Malm said. “Sweden has freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association.”
“We cannot kick independent journalists out of Sweden. We cannot say that Kurds are not allowed to protest. We cannot stop people from opening offices or having representatives in our country from various regions the world. This is the way things work here,” the deputy said.
Sweden and Finland joining NATO is in Turkey’s best interest in the long run, Malm said, referencing Turkey’s blocking of the two Nordic countries’ bids to join NATO over expressed “concerns” of security and a lax attitude towards terrorism.
Top Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, have argued that especially Swedish laws were too lenient to handle terrorist threats to NATO member Turkey, with Çavuşoğlu saying Sweden should change its laws if current laws did not allow for Turkey’s demands.
The demands include the extradition of some 30 dissidents, many of them Kurdish, and that the two countries designate several Syrian Kurdish groups as terrorist. The groups in question have been receiving support from the United States and various European NATO member states as part of the International Coalition against ISIS. Negotiations continue.
Malm said he did not believe that Turkey had a negative view on Sweden’s membership. “But what they want to do now is to get some benefit from this process.”