Sweden has not bowed down to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and has no plans to abandon the law, Foreign Minister Ann Linde told Swedish daily Aftonbladet.
“We will not agree to any extradition unless there is evidence that there has been terroristic activity,” Deutsche Welle Turkish cited Linde as saying. “Kurds do not have any reason to think their human rights or democratic rights are at stake.”
The minister and the Swedish government have faced strong backlash after signing a trilateral memorandum on Tuesday with Turkey and Finland, lifting all present and future arms embargos against Turkey, agreeing to tighten the country’s anti-terrorism laws, and to end support for Kurds.
Turkey demands that the two countries stop supporting Syrian Kurdish groups that it considers to be affiliated by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
While the PKK is banned in both Sweden and Finland, the groups Turkey considers to be their Syrian branches, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing the People’s Protection Units (YPG), who were the main boots on the ground for the International Coalition against ISIS, are not.
“There will be noticeably harsher laws regarding the criminalisation of different aspects of terrorist activities”, Linde said, adding that Sweden should not be a haven for terrorists.
“We must put our cards on the table. Will Sweden arm Turkey in its war against Syria? Which opponents of the regime will be extradited?” asked Nooshi Dadgostar, leader of Sweden’s Left Party.
Greens co-chair Märta Stenevi said there were concerning changes proposed to arms exports and extraditions.
Meanwhile Amineh Kakabaveh, a Kurdish-Swedish independent deputy who plays a key role in keeping the minority government afloat, announced her intention to call a no-confidence vote against the government over its broken promises of support for Kurds.
The Swedish government survived a no-confidence vote in November when Kakabaveh provided the tie-breaker. The Social Democrats are in the minority government, while Left Party and Greens lend external support, with 27 and 16 seats respectively.
Left Party deputy Daniel Riazat tweeted support for Kurds, saying, “If our Kurdish siblings are to be considered terrorists by power-mad right-wingers on the orders of dictator Erdoğan, you can put me in that group. I and the Left Party will never stop showing our solidarity with the Kurdish struggle for democracy and freedom”, while wearing a t-shirt with a PKK symbol on it.