The Sweden has adopted one new anti-terrorism law in line with the requests made by the Türkiyethe only member state of the Nato which still blocks the accession of the Scandinavian country to the Alliance. According to the Swedish Foreign Minister, Tobias Billstromthe government has approved the changes requested by Ankara and his government is now awaiting the summit Nato of 11 and 12 June in Lithuania to see if Turkey will finally withdraw its veto. Sweden’s anti-terrorism law is certainly an important victory for the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoganbut at the same time its approval creates a worrying precedent for democracy in Europe.
The new rules update the existing ones and provide that those who organize travel or transfers, offer or seek accommodation, look after the children or provide food to people belonging to a terrorist group. As explained by the Minister of Justice Gunnar Strommer to local media, the intent is to punish those who offer support or promote a certain type of organization at a logistical, administrative and financial level. The minister also specified that the law does not prohibit expressing one’s support or closeness to a terrorist group, unless it is a question of propaganda.
However, not everyone agrees with Strömmer. The Council on Legislation, a body composed of judges from the Supreme Court and of Supreme Administrative Court responsible for monitoring compliance with the Constitution of the bills, he criticized the newly approved measures, which he deemed too vague. The risk therefore is that the new rules could harm other rights of Swedish citizens and be used in an instrumental way.
However, the first to pay the price for this new law will be the Kurdsas it highlights Ridvan Isvecpresident of the Kurdish Democratic Center in Stockholm. “The new anti-terrorism law was introduced despite objections from the Council, civil society and lawyers’ associations. We Kurds expected that European democracy would change Turkey, but Erdogan has imposed a vision on Europe turkish of law”. A vision, that is, instrumental and which according to Isvec endangers the freedom of the press, of thought and of association of the whole country.
But in addition to an adjustment of the legislative system, Erdogan also asked Sweden for concrete results in the fight against Kurdish Workers’ Party (Pkk), considered a terrorist organization by Turkey and Europe – despite the contrary opinion of the European Court of Justice – as well as against the Pyd not Ypg/Ypj Syrians. These last three acronyms indicate the Democratic Union Party of Rojava and allied Kurdish fighters Usa in the fight against terrorism Syria and supported until recently also by Sweden, but considered terrorists by Turkey.
In response, the Swedish Supreme Court approved for the first time this week the extradition of a man of Kurdish ethnicity convicted in Türkiye for drug and moved to Sweden after being paroled. According to the man, however, the risk is also of being convicted of terrorism once he is returned to his homeland due to his ties to the pro-Kurdish party Hdp, active in Türkiye and at risk of closure through legal proceedings. His case may not be the only one. According to the local press, in the next few days Swedish justice could also approve the extradition of a person suspected of having threatened the owner of a restaurant to raise money for the PKK.
For the Swedish Kurdish community, the government’s compliance with Turkey is a cause for concern, but for Erdogan, Stockholm’s latest moves are instead an important victory both internally and internationally. The Turkish president was the only one to oppose NATO enlargement in a very delicate moment for the Alliance and despite this he even received the support of the Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in his demand from Sweden to tighten up national legislation on terrorism. The secretary has always supported Turkey and put pressure on both Sweden and the Finland to comply with Erdogan’s requests, starting with the lifting of the arms embargo imposed in 2019 following the Turkish invasion of northern Syria.
With the approval of the new anti-terrorism law in Sweden, Erdogan can start the “Turkish new century” with an important victory, but its ability to impose itself on Europe is not a good sign for the democracies of the EU countries.