Unrest and anger among Norwegian Kurds after agreement with Turkey: - We are cursed

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses media representatives during a press conference at the NATO summit at the Ifema congress centre in Madrid, on June 30, 2022. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

Sweden and Finland agree to Turkey's demand to hand over Kurds with "terrorist links" to join NATO. The Kurdish community in Norway is upset.

- We are disappointed and cursed by the whole agreement. Sweden, Finland and NATO are selling out the Kurds who have been fighting for democracy in the Middle East for many years. We are being thrown under the bus to appease Erdogan.

That's what Andam Aziz says to Dagsavisen. He is a spokesperson for the Kurdish Democratic Community Center in Norway, and is in northern Iraq to participate in a Kurdish seminar when Dagsavisen talks to him on Thursday.

On Tuesday this week, it became clear that Turkey will not oppose Sweden and Finland joining NATO. It comes after the Swedes and Finns agreed to Turkey's demand to extradite several people with alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Turkey considers the PKK a terrorist organization.

Initially, Turkey demanded 33 Kurds extradited from Sweden and Finland. On Thursday afternoon, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that Sweden "promises to extradite 73 terrorists to Turkey", according to the news agency Reuters.

The president calls the agreement with Sweden and Finland a "diplomatic victory" for Turkey.

The PKK was established in 1978 and has long waged guerrilla warfare against the Turkish state. Until the 1990s, the goal of the PKK was to establish an independent Kurdish state. Later, the stated goal has been increased autonomy within the Turkish state. The EU and the US have already included the PKK in their lists of terrorist organisations, but the UN has not done so.

I think the agreement is shameful

The Kurdish political community has been concerned with the matter for a long time, says Aziz. They are not surprised that Sweden and Finland reached an agreement with Turkey. Nevertheless, he believes that the agreement is shameful.

- That Sweden bows down to a dictator like Erdogan and ends 200 years of Swedish neutrality in international politics, is embarrassing. They ally themselves with a dictator and sacrifice an oppressed group like the Kurds to protect themselves from another dictator, sir Aziz.

He refers to the Kurds' role in fighting IS and for democratic values ​​in the Middle East, and Aziz believes that the Kurds are once again caught between two chairs and sacrificed.

- We have lost faith in NATO as a community of values, he says.

Sayed Masoud Naseri is spokesperson for the Kurdish Diaspora Center in Norway. Naseri emphasizes that the Kurdish diaspora community in Norway fully supports Swedish and Finnish NATO membership.

- After Russia's attack on Ukraine, it is clear that Sweden and Finland want membership in NATO, it's about their safety. But this comes at the expense of the Kurds' rights, says Naseri.

Fears attacks on sympathizers

Spokesperson for the Kurdish Democratic Community Centre, Andam Aziz, says that the fact that there are PKK members all over the world is no secret. He himself is a clear PKK sympathizer, he says.

- What I fear is that Erdogan may attack people like me, activists in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. If Norway experiences the same pressure as Sweden and Finland now do, will they be able to sacrifice the Kurds. We can easily be sacrificed, because we cannot serve Norway and NATO in the way that Turkey can.

Naseri from the Kurdish Diaspora Center in Norway also fears the consequences the agreement with Sweden and Finland may have for the Kurds.

- Erdogan is only getting ruder. When you bow to Erdogan's demands in this way, he just wants to make more demands. That is our concern. He will demand that the Kurds surrender, but we also have rights. This is against human rights, says Naseri.

At the same time, he emphasizes that the Kurdish Diaspora Center is an organization that is independent of the PKK.

There is still uncertainty about the agreement between Sweden, Finland and NATO. Especially about the Kurds whom Turkey wants to have extradited, actually going to be.

- What exactly are terrorist suspects in Sweden's eyes? Aziz asks.
– Can solve this with diplomacy

Turkey has also previously requested the extradition of Kurds from Sweden. The Swedish state channel SVT writes that Turkey has requested the extradition of a number of people with alleged terrorist links from Sweden, but the government and the Supreme Court of Sweden have refused extradition.

The Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson stated on Wednesday that "if you are not engaged in terrorism, you don't need to be worried".

Among them, Turkey wants extradited from Sweden, is author Ragip Zarakolu who came to Sweden ten years ago. According to SVT, Turkey accuses him of "helping the terrorist organization PKK" by, among other things, opening "a political academy that has served as a training arena for militant personnel".

- I think that Sweden can solve this with diplomacy, not as aggressively as they want everything in Turkey, says Ragip Zarakolu to SVT, and at the same time rejects all accusations.

Votes remain in NATO member states

Sweden and Finland's Nato applications came after the countries departed from their traditional line of neutrality as a result of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine.

For Sweden and Finland to be formally accepted as members of NATO, votes remain in the member states' respective national assemblies, and that all those 30 member states vote in favor.

The signing with Turkey made it possible for Sweden's and Finland's applications to be processed, because Turkey confirms that it will not oppose the countries' membership.


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
A password has not been entered
Password generation
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x