Sweden’s Left Party opposes NATO deal to betray Kurds

July 7, 2022
YPG fighters
Members of the Peoples Protection Units (YPG). Photo: Kurdishstruggle/Flickr

Turkey has agreed to allow Sweden to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In negotiations with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Swedish government backed down on crucial points. The agreement with Turkey reduces Sweden's ability to act as a voice for peace and justice.

In 2019, a united parliament decided to stop arms exports to Turkey because Turkey was bombing Kurds and other minorities in north-eastern Syria. The Left Party was the driving force behind the decision. In yesterday's negotiations, the government agreed to scrap all arms embargoes.

Erdoğan's aim is also to silence Sweden's voice for Kurdish rights in Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. Yesterday the government sacrificed the Kurds, but NATO membership may also mean that more people's rights and freedoms are negotiated away.

We know that there are thousands of political prisoners in Turkish jails. We know that powerless lawyers for human rights organisations are living underground in Turkey. We know that mothers are demonstrating because their children have been abducted by the police, children whom they will never see again. Innocent, their only crime is that they are Kurds. This is how the Kurdish minority is treated in Turkey.

Negotiations have also resulted in closer cooperation between the intelligence services of the Swedish Armed Forces and the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation. This may mean that Sweden will have to extradite Kurds to Turkey who are in need of protection.

The Left Party is opposed to NATO membership. Sweden has a long tradition of military non-alignment. Membership of NATO is associated with great uncertainty. We would risk being forced into wars and conflicts in which we do not want to participate. Membership of NATO also makes it more difficult to conduct an independent foreign policy with any credibility. This is what we are now clearly seeing happening. It is an enormous betrayal to allow Turkey to have so much influence over Swedish foreign policy.

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