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  06 Jul 2022, 23:38

Swedish PM condemns MPs posing with PKK flag amid Turkey NATO row

STOCKHOLM, July  6, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena
Andersson on Wednesday condemned a group of left-wing MPs who posed with flags
from Kurdish militants as the country's NATO membership bid faces Turkish
pressure over such groups.

NATO on Tuesday kicked off the accession procedures for Sweden and Finland
after a deal was struck with Turkey, which had blocked the Nordic nations from
joining.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had accused them of being havens for
Kurdish militants, specifically highlighting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers'
Party (PKK) he has sought to crush, and for promoting "terrorism".

On Tuesday, images spread on social media showing parliamentarians from the
Left Party, which opposed Sweden's decision to apply for NATO membership,
posing with flags from the PKK, as well as militant group YPG and the
all-female YPJ, considered terrorist groups by Turkey.

The images were taken during an annual political gathering on the island of
Gotland.

"The PKK is a designated terror organisation, not just in Sweden, but in
the EU and posing with such flags is extremely inappropriate," Andersson told
news agency TT.

Left Party MP Lorena Delgado Varas, who was one of those involved in the
political stunt, criticised what she called the hypocrisy of the other parties
for supporting Kurdish groups while they were fighting the Islamic state group.

"Now they want to turn around, willing to cosy up with the dictator
Erdogan. All to join NATO," Delgado Varas wrote on Twitter.

Sweden's Left Party is not part of the government but is helping prop up
Andersson's Social Democrat cabinet.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland reversed
decades of military non-alignment by applying for NATO membership in mid-May.

While Turkey approved formally inviting Sweden to join, the accession bid
still needs to be ratified by all 30 NATO members.

Erdogan has warned that his country could still block Sweden and Finland if
they fail to implement the deal with Ankara.

Turkey has also said it is seeking the extradition of 12 suspects from
Finland and 21 from Sweden.


 

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