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Turkey Wants Swedish Minister Fired

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson is under heightened pressure from both domestic and foreign interests. On the National Day of Sweden, June 6th, new demands from Turkey in respect to Swedish NATO accession coalesced with demands from the center-right opposition in the Swedish Parliament for Ms. Andersson to fire Morgan Johansson, her minister of justice.

The new Turkish requests also target a member of Ms. Andersson’s cabinet: President Erdogan wants the prime minister to fire Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist. According to Swedish newspaper Expressen, one reason for Erdogan’s demand

is the revelation that [Hultqvist] gave a speech ten years ago at a party where the terrorist-branded guerilla organization PKK—and its imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan—were praised. According to Expressen’s sources, [Hultqvist’s] attendance at the party still irritates Turkey. 

At the time, in 2012, the Expressen also revealed that Peter Hultqvist’s associate, Evin Cetin, herself a Kurd who at the time was senior ombudsman for the Social Democrat party in the province of Dalarna, had visited a guerilla camp in the Kurdish part of Iraq. 

According to Euractiv, Hultqvist

said he attended the event because he wanted to defend the Kurds. In particular, he wanted to show support to the Kurdish Peace and Democratic party, which has since been renamed the Democratic Regions Party, in its efforts to have Kurdish recognised as an official language in Turkey.

The demand from Ankara for Hultqvist’s resignation comes at the same time as the center-right opposition in the Riksdag, the Swedish Parliament, has demanded a vote of no confidence for Justice Minster Morgan Johansson. The Swedish Democrats, SD, filed for the vote amid frustrations over high levels of violent crime and ongoing conflicts between organized-crime gangs across the country. The vote is scheduled for Tuesday morning, June 7th.

The SD is supported by the Christian Democrats, KD, the moderate center-right party and the centrist liberals. Together, they are one vote short of the required 175-vote majority to secure the no-confidence vote against the minister of justice. 

Sven R. Larson is a political economist and author. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Roskilde University, Denmark. Originally from Sweden, he lives in America where for the past 16 years he has worked in politics and public policy. He has written several books, including Democracy or Socialism: The Fateful Question for America in 2024.

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