A murder case in Sweden, in which four men have been sentenced to life imprisonment for killing a 47-year-old Kurdish refugee, has raised allegations of a Turkish government connection, rekindling the ongoing controversy surrounding the country’s bid to join NATO.
The victim, who had sought refuge in Sweden in 2015, was reportedly lured to an address in Huddinge, where he was fatally shot at close range with seven bullets on the evening of 28 November 2021.
The murder case has shed light on a series of contract killings targeting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members and possible revenge attacks. A key witness in the case claimed that the murder was orchestrated by the Turkish government, which had allegedly initially recruited the 47-year-old deceased to assassinate the witness himself. The witness stated that the victim was promised a payment of three million kronor for the murder. However, he failed in his attempt to kill the witness and subsequently was murdered himself.
Amidst these developments, the role of the Turkish government in the incident has come under scrutiny. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been using Turkey’s veto power as a NATO member to exert pressure on Sweden and Finland, demanding a tougher approach towards their respective Kurdish populations. Turkey insists on cracking down on Kurdish organisations deemed linked to “terrorism,” extraditing Kurds to face trials in Turkish courts, and lifting the arms export embargo that was imposed following Turkey’s 2019 invasion of Syria.
This latest murder has further intensified the ongoing debates surrounding Sweden’s bid to join NATO and the alleged interference by the Turkish government. The case has reignited discussions about the potential implications of Turkey’s demands and its influence on Sweden’s NATO aspirations. The political controversy has also brought attention to Amineh Kakabaveh, a Kurdish Swedish MP, who has been vocal about the Swedish government’s concessions and the impact on the Kurdish community.
Amineh Kakabaveh, a Kurdish MP in the Swedish parliament, took to Twitter to respond to the news, expressing her concerns about Sweden’s relationship with Turkey and the implications for the Kurdish community. She stated, “It has been exactly one year since I and many others warned about Sweden’s weaknesses and concessions to the despot Erdoğan, as Sweden’s NATO membership depends on Turkey’s approval. There is indeed every reason to be really worried, not only for us Kurds but also for the Swedish people and the judiciary. We must take these very seriously, as more contract killings can happen in Sweden targeting Kurds and political refugees.”
Kakabaveh further criticised the Swedish politicians, accusing them of yielding to President Erdoğan and ignoring the plight of Kurds both within Sweden and in their home countries. She stated, “The politicians have only kneeled down to the Islamic despot and turn a blind eye to everything that happens to Kurds in Sweden, but also that they are bombed, attacked, murdered, and persecuted in their home countries – this is no longer an issue for Sweden.”
Expressing her lack of trust in the security services, Kakabaveh referred to a previous incident where she believed an “undocumented” individual was commissioned to murder her. She said, “I am absolutely certain that such a person can get help with a residence permit and other support from Swedish society. It is completely absurd to feel so insecure in Sweden. [And] in Kurdistan, where the people are surrounded by various despotic Islamic Daesh regimes and groups.”
Kakabaveh concluded her tweets by criticising the state of safety in present-day Sweden compared to when she and others sought refuge there. She said, “Many journalists from other parts of the world ask me what is the difference between today’s Sweden and the Sweden I and others came as political refugees 30 years ago. It feels considerably less safe today. This impurity has not been created by immigrants and refugees but by Swedish society and above all by political decisions. How shameful!”