Swedish intellectuals: We fear that the new law will affect the Kurds

"We are concerned about the rule of law in Sweden. We fear that the new law will affect Kurds and Swedish-Kurdish associations that are primarily concerned with culture and language," say intellectuals and writers in Sweden.

A new draft bill will be debated tomorrow (May 3) in Sweden. In an op-ed published by Aftonbladet, Swedish writers and intellectuals reacted to the draft bill, stating the following:

“After Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland applied for membership of the NATO defence alliance.

To our horror, the last two Swedish governments have taken a series of measures to satisfy Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has a firm grip on all legislative, judicial and executive powers.

Unfortunately, the list of Swedish foreign policy concessions is getting longer and longer.

During the NATO summit in Madrid in June 2022, Sweden and Finland pledged in a memorandum to "combat disinformation and prevent the misuse of domestic legislation for the benefit or promotion of terrorist organisations".

At the end of September, the Swedish Inspectorate for Strategic Products (ISP) reauthorised the export of Swedish products as military equipment to Turkey, which has a history of warfare with its neighbours.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson visited Erdogan's palace in Ankara last autumn and gave glory to a despot.

Days before the Prime Minister's visit, Foreign Minister Tobias Billström had distanced himself from the Kurdish freedom organisations People's Defence Units (YPG) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syrian Kurdistan, which have successfully fought the world's most dangerous terrorist movement, Daesh/IS, on the ground.

The recent deportation of two Kurds via Arlanda airport to Turkey was met with surprise and shock in the West. On Swedish Radio's 'Konflikt', several prominent Western jurists emphasised that the expulsion of Kurds in need of protection is unlawful.

In addition, the government's chief negotiator has made various statements criticising people with a Kurdish background.

But the more the government has given in, the more Erdogan has insulted Sweden and demanded more concessions.

Erdogan's rhetoric has made it sound like Sweden is a province of Turkey, and the president is using the Turkish veto in NATO to further increase the oppression of Kurds.

After the doll hanging and Koran burning, he has again used aggressive rhetoric against Sweden. The number of people he wants extradited from Sweden to Turkey has now increased again - from 33 to 130.

And despite the fact that Sweden has a well-functioning terrorism law, the government now even wants to restrict Swedish freedom of association.

Tomorrow, 3 May, the Swedish Parliament is expected to make it a criminal offence to "provide equipment, organise activities and provide transport for a terrorist organisation".

The government wants the law to be adopted despite the Legislative Council rejecting it because there is "a clear risk that the law will entail an excessively far-reaching criminalisation given the need that may exist".

We are concerned about the rule of law in Sweden. We fear that the new law will affect Kurds and Swedish-Kurdish associations that are primarily concerned with culture and language - civil rights that Turkey has suppressed for almost a hundred years.

Swedish-Kurds have previously been subjected to ruthless hunting in connection with the murder of Olof Palme, while there is evidence that the Turkish spy organisation MIT spoilt the murder investigation by planting the PKK red herring.

A similar agitation today would damage the rule of law in Sweden and the Swedish nation for a long time to come. We appeal to all members of parliament in Sweden: Think again when you, as an elected representative, press the button tomorrow.”

The names of the intellectuals endorsing the op-ed are as follows:

Kurdo Baksi, author

Selma Brodrej, journalist

Anita D'Orazio, asylum counsellor

Göran Eriksson, former director of ABF Stockholm

Göran Greider, writer, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Dala-Demokraten

Thomas Hammarberg, writer, former Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

Olof Kleberg, former editor-in-chief of Västerbottens-Kuriren

Anita Klum, former Secretary General of Amnesty International

Anders Kompass, former ambassador and human rights representative for the UN

Arne Ruth, former editor-in-chief of Dagens Nyheter

Pierre Schori, former Minister for Migration Affairs and UN Ambassador

Olle Svenning, author

Gunilla Thorgren, author