SU-30SM, SU-35S, and SU-34 flying in formation - Sputnik International, 1920
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Swedish Foreign Minister Tells Turkey PKK Flag Waving May Be Banned

© AFP 2023 / BULENT KILICA masked Kurdish man waves a PKK's flag
A masked Kurdish man waves a PKK's flag  - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.01.2023
In return for accepting the NATO bids of Sweden and Finland, Ankara has demanded a number of concessions involving Kurdish groups that Turkey considers terrorist organizations. The Swedish government’s attempts to make good on these promises has sparked criticism from politicians, pundits and human rights groups alike.
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom of the Moderate Party has said in an interview with Turkish media that from this summer onward, it may be forbidden to wave flags of organizations branded as terrorist in Sweden, such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which was previously denied.
In the interview, now circulated in the Swedish media, Billstrom promised both constitutional amendments and new legislation.
“We will also put forward a proposal in the Parliament on March 7, which involves a new type of criminal classification in Sweden. It will make it illegal to promote or propagate terrorist activities in our country. It can also include waving the flags of terrorist organizations,” Billstrom was quoted as saying. “We are improving our ability to fight terrorism, and we are doing so hand in hand with Turkey,” Billstrom added.
The debate about the PKK and other Kurdish organizations, flared up amid Sweden’s NATO bid filed in May 2022 alongside Finland, when Stockholm ultimately abandoned the vestiges of its decades-long non-alignment, citing a change in the security situation following Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
So far, Turkey remains the only NATO nation to block the bids, accusing the Nordic nations of supporting and harboring members of Kurdish organizations it sees as terrorist. Stockholm and Helsinki were even provided with a list of people Ankara wants extradited — which is a sensitive issue for Sweden which sees itself as a champion of human rights.
Current French President and centrist presidential candidate for reelection Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a campaign rally in Strasbourg, eastern France, Tuesday, April 12, 2022 . Macron, with strong pro-European views, and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, an anti-immigration nationalist, are facing each other in the presidential runoff on April 24. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias) - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.01.2023
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Stockholm has shown an apparent readiness to gratify Ankara, having lifted the ban on arms exports to Turkey, distanced itself from the Kurdish organizations it previously supported and even extradited some of the people from Ankara’s wishlist. However, its efforts have come under fire from both the opposition and numerous human rights groups.
Likewise, the recent, previously denied plans voiced by Billstrom, were slammed among others by Marie Demker, professor of political science at the University of Gothenburg. She told Swedish media that she finds difficult to criminalize flag-waving “without it encroaching on people's freedoms and rights”, or regard it as anything other than “an attempt to appease the Turkish regime.”
Opposition parties such as the Greens and the Left also voiced their discontent, stressing that the government is making concession in matters it itself presented as principles.
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