Turkey’s Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun urged Swedish authorities to investigate a recent protest by supporters of Syrian Kurds in the Nordic country, calling for “proper” enforcement of Sweden’s new counterterrorism laws that will go into effect on Wednesday.
A group of activists projected Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) flags and slogans including “RIP freedom of speech” on the Swedish parliament building on Sunday. A video posted on social media shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s photo superimposed on the flag which then starts burning. Another slogan projected onto the parliament building calls for the release of PKK founding leader Abdullah Öcalan from prison in Turkey.
The Swedish solidarity committee for Rojava released the video to call for participation to an anti-NATO demonstration on 4 June against Sweden’s new counterterrorism law, under the motto, “No to NATO, no Erdoğan laws in Sweden”.
“The resistance continues,” they said. “On Sunday our flags will be seen on the streets of Stockholm again.”
“It is completely unacceptable that PKK terrorists continue to operate freely in Sweden,” Altun said in his tweet. “Swedish authorities must prevent PKK members from demonstrating on 4 June if they are serious about addressing Türkiye’s concerns.”
Turkey is one of only two NATO members that haven’t ratified Sweden’s bid to join NATO, citing the country’s alleged lenience towards activist groups Ankara designates as terrorist. To comply with Turkey’s demands, Sweden signed a memorandum of understanding and overhauled its terrorism laws, but Turkish authorities stopped the negotiation process in January over a Quran burning incident in Stockholm.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed hopes for Sweden’s membership going through before the mid-July NATO summit in Vilnius during a press conference on Tuesday.