Swedish PM condemns MPs posing with PKK flag amid Turkish row with NATO

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on Wednesday condemned a group of leftist MPs who posed with Kurdish militant flags as the country’s NATO bid faces Turkish pressure on such groups.

NATO launched membership procedures for Sweden and Finland on Tuesday after an agreement was reached with Turkey, which had prevented the Nordic countries from joining.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had accused them of being havens for Kurdish militants, highlighting in particular the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which he sought to crush, and of promoting “terrorism”.

On Tuesday, images spread on social media showing lawmakers from the Left Party, which opposed Sweden’s move to seek NATO membership, posing with PKK flags, as well as the militant group YPG and the all-female YPJ, considered terrorist groups by Turkey. .

The footage was taken during an annual political rally on the island of Gotland.

“The PKK is a designated terrorist organisation, not just in Sweden, but in the EU and posing with such flags is extremely inappropriate,” Andersson told TT news agency.

Left Party MP Lorena Delgado Varas, who was one of those involved in the political coup, criticized what she called the hypocrisy of other parties for supporting Kurdish groups as they fought the group Islamic State.

“Now they want to turn around, ready to get closer to dictator Erdogan. All to join NATO,” Delgado Varas wrote on Twitter.
The Swedish Left Party is not part of the government but helps support Andersson’s social democratic cabinet.

After Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland reversed decades of military non-alignment by applying for NATO membership in mid-May.

While Turkey has approved Sweden’s formal invitation to join, the membership bid still needs to be ratified by all 30 NATO members.

Erdogan has warned that his country could still block Sweden and Finland if they do not implement the agreement with Ankara.

Turkey also said it was seeking the extradition of 12 suspects from Finland and 21 from Sweden.

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