The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Wednesday summoned the Swedish ambassador to Turkey over a satirical comedy sketch on a Swedish television show that featured President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Reuters reported.
The summons coincided with the first day of talks between Ankara and Stockholm, where the two countries will discuss Turkey’s extradition demands, a condition the Turkish government demanded before it approves Sweden and Finland’s bids to join the NATO alliance.
Last week, Sweden’s state-run television network, a taxpayer-funded but independent institution, broadcast a sketch by a Kurdish comedian about Turkey’s president Erdoğan, which the Turkish Foreign Ministry told Ambassador Staffan Herrstrom was “unacceptable”.
In the sketch, the Kurdish comedian mocks Erdoğan’s request for the extradition of activists and opponents from Sweden and likens Erdoğan to Swedish furniture giant IKEA’s famous ‘Sultan’ bed. The two-minute sequence ends with the phrase, “long live democracy”.
Turkey had vetoed Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but later lifted the veto in return for concessions from the two Nordic countries. The three signed a memorandum during a NATO summit in Madrid in June, with Ankara demanding a tighter crackdown on terrorism and the extradition of several dozen people it deems to have connections to terrorism.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told Iraq-based news network Rudaw that her government would not expel any Swedish citizens with Kurdish origins, unless Turkey proved the alleged terrorist activity.
Meanwhile, as part of the negotiations Sweden has already agreed to lift an arms embargo against Turkey, which had been imposed in 2019 over Turkey’s military incursions into Kurdish-held Syrian territories, according to a report by the Inspectorate of Strategic Products (ISP).