• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Swedish Turks and Kurds fear revenge violence
Ismail Zengin at the blast-hit Turkish Cultural Centre. Photo: Erik Nylander/TT

Swedish Turks and Kurds fear revenge violence

AFP/The Local · 19 Feb 2016, 17:10

Published: 19 Feb 2016 16:43 GMT+01:00
Updated: 19 Feb 2016 17:10 GMT+01:00

In the Stockholm suburb of Botkyrka, a powerful blast at a Turkish cultural centre destroyed two offices on Wednesday evening, leaving broken glass and blackened walls.

It came just four days after a man was shot at a pro-Kurdish rally in the same neighbourhood south-west of Stockholm.

“I have many young people who are worried now, they say 'maybe the Turks will come to my house and shoot me',” said Yilmas Zengin, a 55-year-old of Turkish and Kurdish origin who runs the nearby Botkyrka Youth Centre.

“We worry, more than anything, that the violence will increase,” he said outside the centre.


Police at the scene of Saturday's shooting in Fittja. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Botkyrka's Fittja neighbourhood is home to both Turks and Kurds where roughly 90 percent of the population is of foreign origin, and the incidents came as a surprise to both local communities.

Turkish ambassador Kaya Turkmen visited the scene of the blast and spoke to members of both the Kurdish and the Turkish communities. Several locals voiced fears that the blast was the result of a hand grenade, but police are still investigating.

“Turks and Kurds have been friends and lived in peace in Sweden and we can be grateful they decided not to be a part of this dirty game,” Turkmen told AFP as he surveyed the damage at the cultural centre.

“There are tensions in Turkey, so they are related. I hope there is no more violence,” said Turkmen, who also visited the Kurdish Cultural Centre, called the Anatoliska Kurdiska, some 100 metres away.

Wednesday night's explosion came on the same day that 28 people were killed in a bomb attack in the capital of Turkey, which – according to Ankara – has been targeted by Islamist and Kurdish groups since it started fighting them in neighbouring Syria.


Mehmet Kayhan examining the centre after Wednesday's blast. Photo: Erik Nylander/TT

Mehmet Kayhan, who runs the Turkish cultural centre, said he feared Fittja was seeing conflict imported from the Middle East. He said there had been a fight between Turks and demonstrating Kurds in front of the centre just before the shooting on Saturday.

But according to Kayhan and other witnesses at the Turkish and the Kurdish cultural centres, the demonstrators were not from the Fittja neighbourhood.

“A crowd of maybe 150 Kurds marched in front of the centre and taunted us until a fight began. There were many of them, so we had to run into the building and barricade the doors and call the police,” he said.

“These people were Kurds from Iran and Iraq. I heard them speak,” said Ismail Zengin, 57, who runs the centre along with Kayhan.

Story continues below…


Ismail Zengin surveying the explosion damage. Photo: Erik Nylander/TT

His opinion was echoed by groups of men at the nearby Anatoliska Kurdiska who said that locals would not have attacked each other. Kurdish groups also confirmed that Kurds from Iran, Iraq and Syria were all present at the demonstration, which had nothing to do with the centre.

Indeed, roughly one third of the 25 men seated at the centre were Turks. Likewise a small group of Kurdish men had helped clear away the debris from Wednesday's blast.

“We've grown up together, over there and here. We try to help each other,” said Haydar Bayraktar, the Kurdish manager of the centre.

There are no official figures for the number of Kurds in Sweden, but local groups place the number at around 100,000. There were about 46,000 people born in Turkey living in Sweden in 2014, according to Statistics Sweden.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Brexit vote
Sweden wants UK to move quickly towards exit
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven after Monday's meeting. Photo: Johanna Johansson/TT

"We can’t have the EU in limbo for too long," said the Prime Minister.

Brexit vote
UK can't cherry-pick EU rules, says Sweden
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson following the meeting on Monday. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson commented on the consequences of Brexit after a meeting with Swedish businesses on Monday.

Why this Swedish canal was filled with dead rats
Removing dead rats from a canal: not the easiest summer job. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Over 140 dead rats were removed from Malmö's canals on Monday.

Is this Swede the new Vincent van Gogh?
Ivar Arpi (left). Photo: Tomlin Studio

He's winning a worldwide competition to find the person who most resembles the Dutch master.

Brexit vote
Swedish stock market plummets in Brexit aftermath
The Stockholm Stock Exchange felt the full force of Brexit on Monday morning. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Monday is the first day of trading in Sweden since Britain voted to leave the European Union, and negative effects are already being felt, with stocks down by almost five percent at lunchtime.

Brexit: Sweden’s leaders meet for talks about 'our friend'
Ebba Busch Thor outside the PM's office before Monday morning's talks. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

“The UK is our friend and we have to respect the decision.”

Brexit vote
Poll: Sweden still wants to stay in EU after Brexit vote
Most Swedes polled don't want a referendum on EU membership. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

A post-Brexit poll shows that the majority of Swedes would still vote to stay in the EU.

My Swedish Career
'I was only supposed to stay in Sweden for a few months'
Dan Paech, the founder of Run With Me Stockholm. Photo: Private

Meet Dan Paech, 31, the Australian who found his entrepreneurial path in Stockholm.

Sweden murder probe after refugee centre death
One person had been detained and other potential witnesses were being questioned. Photo: TT

Swedish police on Sunday launched a murder investigation after a young woman was found dead at a shelter housing asylum-seekers.

Sweden trials electrified highway for trucks
The truck draws power as it moves at speeds of up to 90km/h (56mph) while putting out no emissions. Photo: Scania AB

The Swedish truck firm Scania, in partnership with German engineering company, Siemens, is developing the world’s first “eHighway”, a four kilometre stretch of highway north of Stockholm.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
International
'A morning of sorrow': Sweden reacts to Brexit vote
Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
International
Sweden opposition cools talk of 'Swexit' poll
International
'Devastated' - Brits in Sweden shocked by Brexit vote
Blog updates

17 June

Queen’s Birthday Stockholm 2016: 9th June. 90th Birthday. 900 Guests! (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"What do you do when you read that the Queen’s 90th Birthday in London will be…" READ »

 

10 June

i lördags, på lördag – time phrases for present, past and future (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! Swedish time phrases can be difficult to master. It takes a lot of practice to…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Stockholm school celebrates Nepal Project success
Gallery
People-watching: June 22nd
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Private
The Local Voices
'Swedes don't treat me differently because I wear a hijab'
Culture
How do Swedes celebrate Midsummer?
Culture
Coming soon: Sweden’s smelly fermented fish
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Assange lawyer: Sweden should recognize UN opinion
Private
The Local Voices
Why is this Syrian dentist who hugs like a Swede worried about undies?
Swedish nationalist 'shot and ate' lion and giraffe
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Analysis & Opinion
'Sweden's residency revamp is harmful and inhumane'
Sponsored Article
The man behind Sweden's biggest music festival
Photo: The Local
The Local Voices
UNHCR boss: 'It's hard to start your life without your family'
Politics
VIDEO: Brits in Europe say why UK should stay
Sponsored Article
US expats: Have you met your tax deadlines?
Photo: Marko Risović
The Local Voices
World Refugee Day: Searching for safety in Europe - in pictures
Sponsored Article
Malmö: Home to the best food in Sweden?
National
Is Swedish nationalists’ foreign food ban bananas?
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
Gallery
Property of the week: Söråker
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
International
Poll shows huge support for EU in Sweden
The Local Voices
How a Syrian scuba diver mobilized Sweden's biggest asylum centre
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Sport
Zlatan: 'If we'd been fighting for real, he'd be in hospital'
The Local Voices
Orlando reflections: Is it possible to be gay and Muslim?
Sweden to go ahead with migrant age tests
Gallery
People-watching: June 17th-19th
National
Will you be hit by changes to Sweden's residency laws?
3,325
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se