The Swedish government survived a no-confidence vote against its justice minister on Tuesday with Kurdish-Swedish deputy Amineh Kakabaveh’s help, Reuters reported.
Ahead of the vote, Kakabaveh spoke in parliament slamming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for pressuring Sweden into restricting free speech and assembly, and said Swedish laws are “decided in this chamber, not in Ankara”.
The deputy, who has Iranian Kurdish roots then abstained from voting, leaving the conservative opposition one vote short of passing the no-confidence motion against Justice Minister Morgan Johansson.
As a condition for her help, Kakabaveh demanded Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s government affirmed Sweden’s support for Kurds and that Kurdish asylum seekers in the country were not terrorists, according to Reuters.
Andersson had promised in November, when Kakabaveh cast the deciding vote to get her into office, that Sweden would cooperate with the Syrian-Kurdish majority Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey says is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
PKK is included in the European Union’s list of foreign terrorist organisations, while Turkey is alone in designating Syrian Kurdish groups including the PYD, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and People’s Protection Units (YPG) terrorist.
The Swedish government is openly against considering PYD sympathisers terrorists.
Sweden is heading for an election in September, when the right-wing opposition is expected to use what they consider lax crime prevention and generous immigration policies against the incumbent social democrats.
“Kakabaveh cast the vote that made Andersson prime minister. In return, she promised to support the terrorist organisation. This is not the only time Kakabaveh blackmailed the Swedish government,” pro-Turkish government television network 24 TV said in a report on Wednesday.
“Swedes took to social media to say ‘Erdoğan is so right’,” said another pro-government newspaper Sabah, owned by the Turkish president’s in-laws, while Islamist daily Yeni Akit said Swedes believed Erdoğan “to be in the right”.
Turkish media cited Swedish-looking social media accounts as saying, “Erdoğan had warned that terrorists in our parliament would also affect us one day”.
On Tuesday, Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet ran an interview with Turkey expert Halil Karaveli, who said the government’s move signals the end of Sweden’s NATO application. “As I see it, this shows that the Swedish government does not intend to meet Turkey’s demands,” he said.
The Swedish government contacted top Syrian Kurdish officials to call and convince Kakabaveh to support the government, daily Expressen reported on Tuesday, however the Kurdish-Swedish independent deputy has already rejected the claims, saying she had not been contacted and that it would not have changed her mind if she had been.