Turkey summons Swedish envoy over ‘insulting’ Erdogan TV satire

Turkey on Wednesday summoned the Swedish ambassador after a TV satire called President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "a fool" and "grumpy", joked that his farts had caused the Nord Stream bubbles, and depicted him bending over in his underwear.

Turkey summons Swedish envoy over 'insulting' Erdogan TV satire
The Kurdish comic Kadir Meral was given a section on the Svenska Nyheter satire programme. Photo: Screenshot/SVT

“The Turkish foreign ministry summoned today the Swedish ambassador to Ankara, Staffan Herrstrom, because of a broadcast on Swedish television (SVT) that contained insulting statements and images against Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” news agency Anadolu said.

In the dressing down, Herrstrom was told that the “impertinent and ugly expression and images” about Erdogan and Turkey were unacceptable. 

On Friday, Kristoffer Ahonen Appelquist, the host of the satire show Svenska Nyheter on Swedish state broadcaster SVT called on the Swedish-Kurdish comic Kadir Meral, who for several minutes ridiculed Erdogan in Kurdish, finishing with what looked like a homophobic slur. 

At the same time Ahonen Appelquist, called Erdogan dåre, Swedish for “a fool”. 

The title of the episode, Vetoturken, or “the veto Turk”, was already offensive, as it use the “X-turken” format often used for racist Swedish meme videos (such as Pizzaturken, Bussturken, etc).  

In the episode, Ahonen Appelquist at first ridicules Erdogan for his campaign theme song, then covers a woman who was imprisoned for calling Erdogan “grumpy” on Twitter, and talks of Turkeys 38,000 political prisoners, and lack of a free press.

He then covered the agreement struck at the Nato Madrid summit, and why allowing Swedish weapons exports to Turkey might mean they are used to wage war on Kurds in northern Syria, and how Erdogan is demanding Sweden send back ordinary Kurdish journalists who he sees as “terrorists”. 

“It’s just ridiculous,” Ahonen Appelquist says. “He doesn’t even like them [the Kurds], and we do! And we use the Kurds for things, like culture and politics and Sommarprat [the Summer broadcasts from celebrities on Swedish radio] and stuff.” 

He then brings on Meral, who joked that the bubbles from Nordstream were from Erdogan farting, calls him “grumpy” (thereby repeating the mild insult which had someone jailed), ridicules him for balding, and then attacks his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Finally, he says, “Erdogan, you think you are a Sultan, but really you are like a Sultan bed from Ikea, which stands on all fours in the bedroom.” 

Then there’s a picture of Erdogan bent over in his underwear. 

“But you know what, in Sweden, we think that that kind of thing is totally OK,” Meral ends. 

You can see the episode (in Swedish) here. 

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Swedish and Turkish foreign ministers to meet to discuss Nato

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday that he would meet with his Swedish and Finnish counterparts to discuss their bid to join Nato on the margins of the alliance's meeting in Bucharest on Tuesday.

Swedish and Turkish foreign ministers to meet to discuss Nato

“We will come together with Swedish and Finnish foreign ministers tomorrow in Bucharest under a trilateral format,” Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by the private NTV broadcaster.

Ankara has accused the two Nordic nations of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish militants it deems “terrorists” and held back on ratifying their Nato membership despite an agreement in June.

“The process is progressing positively, but there are still steps to be taken,” Cavusoglu said. “In fact, Sweden is the country that needs to take more steps.”

Finland and Sweden dropped decades of military non-alignment and scrambled to become Nato members in May, after Russia invaded Ukraine.

New Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson visited Ankara early this month to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as Stockholm hoped to secure Turkey’s approval.

Ahead of that trip, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg, who met with Cavusoglu and Erdogan in Istanbul, said both countries were committed to working with Turkey to address its concerns, adding it is time to welcome them.

Among all Nato members, only Hungary and Turkey are left to green-light their application.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said last week parliament would approve Finland and Sweden’s accession to Nato next year.