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Turkey summons Swedish envoy over 'terrorist propaganda'

Turkish foreign ministry in Ankara.

Turkey has summoned the Swedish charges d'affaires in Ankara in protest at a demonstration by a Kurdish group in Sweden. 

Ankara made the decision after "terrorist propaganda" distributed during Kurdish groups rallies in Stockholm and Gothenburg on Thursday, according to Reuters.

After Turkey signed a trilateral deal with Sweden and Finland approving the two countries' requests for NATO membership, Kurdish dissidents from Turkey, who have sought refuge in Sweden, expressed concerns over their possible extradition staging a protest rally in this regard.

Kurdish protesters oppose the deal, which had Turkey drop its objection to the two Nordic countries' accession to NATO in exchange for their commitment to prosecute and extradite Kurdish activists and lift arms embargoes.

“The negotiation between Sweden and Turkey is a total disgrace. The Kurds are not saying, ‘Don’t join NATO’; only, ‘Don’t use us as a bargaining chip.’ Sweden is acting in breach of its own promises to the Kurds,” said Swedish MP Amineh Kakabaveh.

Kakabaveh noted that the unprecedented fight and resistance by the Kurds against the fierce Daesh forces, who aimed to take full control of Iraq and Syria, not only benefited the global community, but also helped make the world a safer place.

Hemid Amed, co-chair of the Swedish branch of the Democratic Kurdish Community Centers, said, “the Swedish government has used the Kurds in a bargain to secure its own interests.”

Ahmed Karamus, co-chair of Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), described the trilateral deal as a “betrayal” of Kurds and Swedes alike, insisting that the deal conflicted both with Swedish domestic law and with human values. 

“How could they use Kurds as a bargaining chip to negotiate with the bloodthirsty Turkish administration, which no longer has anything to do with human rights? Nobody has the right to label Kurds as terrorists just because Turkey wants them to.”

Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership after Russia launched its special military operation in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region earlier this year.

Turkey opposed the move, accusing the two Nordic countries of supporting groups it recognizes as terrorists.

Turkish officials say they will seek the extradition of 33 "terror" suspects from Sweden and Finland as part of the agreement, although the deal did not include specific references to extradition.

The 33 individuals named by Turkey are all accused of being either outlawed PKK militants or members of a group led by the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey blames for a failed 2016 coup.

The trilateral deal specifies that Ankara will remove its opposition to Sweden’s membership in NATO in exchange for arms exports and the repatriation of terrorists.

Turkey has pointed out that the deal signed by the three sides did not mean Ankara would automatically approve the two countries' membership in NATO.

"If they fulfill their duties, we will send it to the parliament. If they are not fulfilled, it is out of the question," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last month at the time the three countries signed the 10-point memorandum.

Erdogan on Monday renewed his threat to "freeze" the membership bids of both Sweden and Finland unless the military alliance complies with Ankara's conditions.

In a separate diplomatic row with Sweden, Iran last week recalled its ambassador to Stockholm for consultations regarding a Swedish court's ruling life imprisonment for Iranian citizen Hamid Nouri.

Ambassador Ahmad Masoumifar was recalled after the Stockholm court sentenced Nouri on baseless charges lodged by the terrorist MKO group.

His accusers allege that Nouri was involved in the execution and torture of MKO members in 1988. Nouri has vehemently rejected the allegation.

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