Turkey ambassador suggests extradition of Swedish member of parliament

TT/The Local
TT/The Local - [email protected]
Turkey ambassador suggests extradition of Swedish member of parliament
Swedish politician Amineh Kakabaveh. Turkey's ambassador to Sweden suggested to newswire TT that she should be extradited, over claims about connections with the terrorist-classified organisation PKK. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist / TT

Turkey's ambassador to Sweden has made several accusations against Swedish parliamentary politicians, including the suggestion that Amineh Kakabaveh should be extradited, over claims about connections with the terrorist-classified organisation Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) .


Turkey's Ambassador Hakki Emre Yunt said Turkey demands that Sweden "cut ties" with the PKK, in order to get Nato membership.

Ankara in particular has accused Stockholm of leniency towards the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) listed as a "terrorist" group by Ankara and its Western allies, as well as members of the movement led by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara blames for an attempted 2016 coup.

"The PKK has links to members of the Riksdag. They work against Turkey in the Riksdag all the time. They are pressuring the Swedish government to adopt a negative attitude towards Turkey", Hakki Emre Yunt said.


When asked by news agency TT, which members of parliament he is talking about, the ambassador said, "I can only mention Amineh Kakabaveh, because she had an agreement with the Social Democratic Party to support them." 

However in a later interview with Sweden's Radio Ekot, he said that Kakabaveh is not on the extradition list and says that "it must be a misunderstanding".

Kakabaveh cast the decisive vote for Magdalena Andersson as prime minister in November, after she had reached an agreement with the Social Democrats on cooperation with the PYD, the largest political party of the Syrian Kurds.

Kakabaveh, who is of Kurdish descent, came to Sweden as a refugee from Iran at a young age. The news agency TT has tried to get hold of her, without success.

But on Instagram, she responded,

"I am a Swedish citizen and I have been elected to represent Swedish citizens in the Riksdag. It is the ambassador who should be sent back to Turkey.

But not only the government must act. The opposition and opinion leaders throughout the political field must mark and explain that Sweden is not crawling for the Islamists in Ankara."


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Amineh Kakabaveh (@amineh._kakabaveh)

After the Turkish ambassador said it was a misunderstanding, Kakabaveh responded on Instagram:

"Turkey should not easily get away with excuses. They deliberately chose me along with a number of freedom fighters. Sweden's rulers thus want to become friends in Nato with this regime, which also in its diplomacy conducts State Terrorism against us."

The Social Democrats' party secretary Tobias Baudin wrote in a statement on November 24th: "That freedom fighters who have fought or sympathised with the YPG / YPJ or PYD are classified by certain state actors as terrorists is unacceptable."

In an interview with Dagbladet recently, Kakabaveh accused the Nordic countries of being cowards and bowing to Erdogan. She added that she was sure she was on Turkey’s blacklist.

"Although I have never been in an open fight against Turkey, I have been in a democratic fight for human rights and women’s rights. For Erdogan, both women and Kurds are enemies", she told Dagbladet.


The YPG, an armed branch of the PYD, was the closest ally of the United States and the West in the fight against IS in Syria.

Turkey equates the YPG with the PKK, which is on the terrorist list of the United States, the EU and Turkey, and equates the fight against IS with the fight against the Kurds.

"This should have been a scandal. To have an agreement to act against Turkey and support the terrorist organisations from Sweden", Hakki Emre Yunt said.

"Unfortunate spiral"

Turkey has demanded that about 30 people, whom President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls terrorists, be extradited to Turkey. According to the ambassador, this applies to people with connections to the PKK and the Gülen movement, who are accused of being behind the coup attempt in 2016.

Michael Sahlin, former ambassador to Turkey said it has become "an unfortunate spiral....It is in the Swedish interest that it is possible to have a calm conversation." The solution going forward is "creative diplomacy", he said.

Russia's war in Ukraine in February has shifted political opinion in both Sweden and Finland in favour of joining Nato.

Abandoning their long established non-alignment policy, Finland and Sweden on Wednesday submitted a joint application for Nato membership.

Membership requires consent of all 30 existing members but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is threatening to block the bid, singling out Sweden as “a complete terror focus, a complete terror haven,” in a video broadcast he tweeted on Thursday.


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