Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan does not want Sweden and Finland to join NATO because he claims to support terrorists. But Norway is not much better, according to Erdogan’s husband in Oslo.
– It is a fact that in Sweden, Finland and Norway, the PKK has found a safe haven. Here they can operate, make money and abuse the freedom of expression – as if it were an interest organization.
This is what the Turkish ambassador Fazlı Çorman says in an interview with VG.
On Monday night, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went out and said that Turkey would not approve Sweden and Finland’s applications for NATO membership.
Turkey has asked the countries to meet three main demands, one of which reads “stop supporting terrorists in the country.”
“Scandinavian countries are like guesthouses for terrorist organizations,” Erdogan said.
– Norway has the same attitude
“Terrorists abroad” is aimed at the Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK, which is stamped as terrorism in Turkey, and in the EU and the US. The YPG is a Kurdish militia in Syria, which has been active in defeating IS.
Neither Sweden nor Norway has the terrorist list PKK.
The Turkish ambassador tells VG that Turkey is also critical of Norway. But since Norway became a NATO member before Turkey (Norway in 1949, Turkey in 1952), they did not have the opportunity to influence at the time, he points out.
– Norway has the same attitude to the terrorist organizations, but Sweden has been most open and supported the PKK, Çorman claims.
Ambassador of Turkey: Relations with Norway are threatened by prejudice
“I am a terrorist in their eyes”
Andam Aziz is a spokesperson for the Kurdish Democratic Community Center, the largest Kurdish organization in Norway. He says he feels offended by the outbursts.
– I’m a terrorist in the eyes. It is uncomfortable, he says to VG.
In 2019, he was among 120 Norwegians who stayed stamped as terrorist supporters of the Turkish government-friendly think tank SETA. The list also includes Red leader Bjørnar Moxnes and SV leader Audun Lysbakken.
– We are many activists and academics in Norway who show support for the Kurdish cause, and all are called terrorists. But as I usually say: Another terrorist is another freedom fighter.
– A plague and a plague for Erdogan
He supports the Norwegian Turkey experts who interpret Erdogan’s proposal as a bargaining chip to push forward their own wishes in NATO.
– The Swedish government has long been supportive of the Kurdish cause, and very active in pointing out Turkey’s human rights violations. Erdogan wants the Kurds to lose the voice they have in Sweden, Aziz believes.
According to him, Turkey wants to close Kurdish associations and persecute Kurdish activists in Sweden.
– They are trying to silence activists and Erdogan – critical voices throughout Europe. Activists have been a plague and a nuisance to Erdogan’s regime in Turkey. Since Erdogan gags the activists and has full control over the media in his home country, we have become the voices of those who are oppressed in Turkey.
Says people will not distance themselves from the PKK
– How active is the support for the PKK and YPG among Kurds in Sweden?
– The PKK has great support in Kurdish society in Sweden, Norway and elsewhere in Europe. People do not want to distance themselves from the PKK’s politically legitimate activity, but no one wants armed struggle anymore. We believe that the PKK is not fighting an attack, but a defensive battle against Turkey, where it is a matter of protecting its territories.
– Do you have any understanding that Turkey wants to limit the PKK, also abroad, all the time Ankara describes this as a terrorist group?
– No, I have no understanding for that. Turkey has been trying to eliminate the PKK since 1988. It is time for them to understand that the PKK is part of the people. The only thing Erdogan can do to limit the PKK is to enter into peace negotiations and end the war that neither the Kurds nor the Turks want, Aziz answers.