Liberal Party criticises Swedish government’s Turkey policy

Sweden’s Liberal Party foreign policy spokesman Fredrik Malm slammed the Swedish government's foreign policy declaration for 2021 which underemphasizes human rights violations in Turkey.

In Sweden, the government announces the yearly foreign policy of the country in parliament. Opinions, criticism and proposals by the foreign policy spokespersons and deputies of the parties.

Liberal Party foreign policy spokesman Fredrik Malm directed harsh criticism at Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Linde very little space was devoted to the developments in Turkey in the declaration. Linde said that Turkey plays a central role in Europe and Sweden will continue to support democratic forces and to bring the human rights violations in Turkey on its agenda.

Malm remarked that Foreign Minister Linde mentioned human rights violations in Turkey only in passing, saying; “Turkey has abolished the freedom of expression in practice. Engaged in intense crackdown on its citizens, Turkey cannot be considered a constitutional state. Opposition politicians such as Selahattin Demirtaş were arrested.”

According to Malm, it sounds strange that Sweden does not recognize the Christian genocide perpetrated in Turkey 100 years ago. He urged the government to bring into force the genocide decision that the parliament had taken years ago.

Linde replied that "Like Fredrik Malm our government is concerned over the human rights situation in Turkey in terms of the principles of democracy and rule of law."

Linde reminded that Eren Keskin, Co-Chair of the Human Rights Association, who was awarded for her work in the field of human rights by the Anna Lindh Memorial Fund, is very likely to receive a long prison sentence.

Malm also pointed to the aggressive policies of Turkey in Syria, the Mediterranean, Northern Iraq and Armenia.

On the other hand, Left Party MP and Foreign Policy Spokesperson Häkan Svenneling said that “Despotism and arrests of dissidents have continued limiting the democratic space in Turkey. Only recently 700 HDP members have been arrested in an attempt to silence their voices”.

Lotta Johnsson Fornarve, Left Party MP and Second Deputy Speaker of the Parliament pointed to Erdoğan’s despotic policy in Turkey where the situation has worsened under pandemic conditions.

Referring to the increasingly ongoing repression against the Kurdish people, Fornarve noted that that many journalists, politicians and dissidents remain behind bars in Turkey, including former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş. She added that women in particular were negatively affected by repression and domestic violence has increased during the pandemic.

“Sweden can play an important role. It is important for us to support the democratic forces fighting for human rights in Turkey", she added.