Sweden's new Centre Party leader to renounce Turkish citizenship

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Sweden's new Centre Party leader to renounce Turkish citizenship
Muharrem Demirok is born in Sweden and currently holds dual Swedish-Turkish citizenship. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Swedish-Turkish citizen Muharrem Demirok, the soon-to-be leader of Sweden’s Centre Party, will renounce his Turkish nationality because of his new role, said the party.


Aftonbladet columnist Peter Kadhammar was first to report that Demirok would be renouncing his Turkish citizenship, in a column questioning Sweden’s “weirdly carefree attitude to dual citizenships”. Sweden has allowed dual citizenship without restrictions since 2001, one of many European countries to do so.

Demirok, a former deputy mayor of the city of Linköping in central Sweden, was elected to the Swedish parliament in 2022 and is expected to be voted in as leader of the Centre Party at the party’s congress in February, taking over from Annie Lööf.

His family is from Turkey and he became a Swedish citizen at the age of 21.


The Centre Party’s press office told TT that Demirok had started the process of renouncing his Turkish citizenship in December, before Aftonbladet’s column was published, after he was asked by the party election committee to become their next party leader.


Sweden’s Business and Energy Minister Ebba Busch, leader of the Christian Democrats, is also a dual citizen. She is Swedish-Norwegian, reports TT.

The Centre Party said Demirok’s reason for dropping his Turkish nationality was to ensure he would face “no barriers in terms of access to meetings or information”.

Sweden’s security police Säpo told the government in a memo last summer that dual citizenship could be “a clear and important factor to consider” when providing security clearance for people who may receive access to classified information.

It also stressed, however, that dual citizenships are not generally a threat and that decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis to determine whether a person is “loyal and reliable” and not at risk of being taken advantage of by a foreign power.

Sweden’s diplomatic ties with Turkey are currently strained, with the latter demanding several concessions in return for ratifying Sweden’s Nato membership.

Last week the Swedish foreign office was criticised by a free speech expert for apologising to Turkey when protesters staged a mock execution of an effigy of the Turkish president in Stockholm.


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