Özsoy: Finland and Sweden now have their own “Kurdish problem”

HDP Foreign Affairs Co-spokesperson Hisyar Özsoy said in an interview with Mezopotamya agency (MA) that Finland and Sweden now have their own “Kurdish problem” after signing the trilateral memorandum with Turkey at the NATO summit in Madrid on 28 June.

Turkish President R. Tayyip Erdogan has tried to further militarize the Kurdish issue and make it a NATO issue, Özsoy said.

The accession of Sweden and Finland into NATO will still be a long process, since all member states would have to vote in their own parliaments to approve the admission. Özsoy said that Turkey could still demand further concessions before the process is complete.

Commenting on the memorandum, Özsoy stated that Sweden and Finland had confirmed that they regard the PKK as a terrorist organization. “The EU countries have the PKK on the list of terrorist organisations anyway, so this is nothing new. Sweden and Finland also say that they will no longer support the YPG and PYD. They didn’t say, however, they are terrorist organizations. Turkey was unable to enforce this demand. If they want, they can provide support through civil structures, aid organizations, councils, the Autonomous Administration or the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). At best, they will no longer openly invite very well-known personalities like Ilham Ehmed,” said the HDP Foreign Affairs Co-spokesperson.

There was also no clear commitment in the memorandum regarding the extradition of opposition figures demanded by Turkey. “Turkey may not, but Sweden has a separation of powers. The government cannot simply tell a court to extradite this person or that person. The courts there cannot work under government orders. For example, if two members of the Swedish government tried to extradite Ragip Zarakolu, the government would fall. It would have serious repercussions, it’s not that simple.”

Özsoy pointed out that several people for whom Turkey is seeking extradition have completed their asylum procedures and are now fully naturalized Swedish nationals. Their extradition is no longer possible.

Turkey has argued that the two countries’ anti-terror laws were too loose and that they had effectively become safe havens for “terrorists”. Sweden has a small but vibrant Kurdish community of around 100,000 people, a significant proportion of whom are politically persecuted. Several Swedish citizens of Kurdish origin are active in politics at various levels.

Furthermore, Hisyar Özsoy said the following points in his interview:

“If the issue was the support of the West, the NATO member states, for the Kurds in Syria, Erdogan should be most angry and roaring at the US and then at France. Because in comparison with their support for Rojava, the support provided by Sweden and Finland is ridiculous and insignificant. Erdogan wanted to negotiate with Biden on the first day.
But Biden, very skillfully, said, That’s not our problem. It is up to Sweden, Turkey and Finland to decide between them” and shut the door. Erdoğan wanted to meet indirectly. Biden had an indirect encounter. He met face-to-face with the presidents of Sweden and Finland and by phone with Erdogan. He didn’t want it to become a United States-Turkish deal. If he had, Erdogan would have tried to get concessions regarding the YPG/PYD and SDF. But it is not possible to get this concession. In terms of American diplomacy, they closed the deal cheaply. It is still 3-5 engagements on paper, but Erdogan has reached the desired point.
What Erdogan wants is not insignificant scraps. Erdogan is in negotiations with the West: ‘Keep me in power’. Here we see that Erdogan has broken a certain isolation. Turkey has an increasing importance with the Ukraine-Russia war. The Black Sea has become a very important area. This grain crisis could lead to a huge hunger crisis in Africa. Consequently, it is not possible to do so without Turkey, both as regards security and the transfer of cereals. It is still a NATO power, but there is a West that wants to utilize Turkey – not Erdogan – in some way. Turkey’s geopolitical power has increased.
The West is saying to Turkey or to Erdogan: ‘We see a role for Turkey in the restructuring from the Black Sea and Eastern Europe to the Scandinavian countries’. But Erdogan’s viewpoint is so small that they are disconcerted. One of Erdogan’s policies is ‘Allow me to beat up some Kurds in Syria’. The West says, ‘Let’s design the world together’. Turkey says, ‘No, I will beat up Kurds, I will enter Tel Rifaat and attack the Kurds’. Secondly, since it has no vision for Turkey, it is trying to maneuver tactically ‘how can I stay in power’ in the 2023 elections.
They will see until the elections; they tolerate Erdogan’s threats in a way, but they also think that he is not a very reliable partner. They also know that Erdogan makes concessions, despite the appearance of hanging and cutting. (…)”

Source: Mezopotamya agency (MA)