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Israeli Media: Sweden’s Application to Join NATO Faces a Dilemma

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Sweden believes it has done as much as possible to meet the demands of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has a decisive vote on whether Sweden’s bid to join NATO will succeed.

In May 2022, Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO in response to the threat posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The move has raised some concerns among Sweden’s Kurdish citizens.

For the Kurdish community, NATO means Turkey (an early NATO member), which has for years been fighting Kurdish separatists at home, as well as Peshmerga on the Turkey-Syria and Turkey-Iran borders.

Erdogan has been blocking the two countries’ applications for months, insisting that Sweden take effective action against its Kurdish minority as a condition for lifting the veto. Despite the Swedish government’s June 11 decision to extradite a Turkish citizen living in Sweden who was convicted of drug offenses in Turkey in 2013, what Sweden has done so far has not satisfied Erdogan .

He recently withdrew his opposition to Finland’s application but continued to boycott Sweden. The matter has turned into a clash between Sweden’s widely shared values ​​of humanitarianism, tolerance and freedom and Erdogan’s determination to crush the Kurdish independence movement at all costs.

Erdogan has publicly stated that he believes Sweden has become a safe haven for members of the PKK. While Sweden condemns terror, it does host Kurdish groups known as the YPG, which fought alongside the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces against ISIS from 2014 to 2019, and did Drive them out of Syria.

Their political wing, the Kurdistan Democratic Union Party, is a recognized organization in Sweden and has offices in Stockholm. Many Swedes believe that “it is unfair and inhumane to treat the group as a terrorist organization”.

Erdogan claimed that members of the PKK were sheltered under the wings of the “People’s Protection Units”. He said that the YPG and the Kurdistan Democratic Union Party were terrorist organizations and asked Sweden to withdraw its support for them, and at the same time remove the A list of people extradited to Turkey.

Of all the countries the Kurds have fled to in the past half-century, Sweden has given them the warmest welcome, a real escape from political repression. There are currently 100,000 Kurds in Sweden, and the Kurdish group has been well integrated into Swedish society politically, socially and culturally.

The current NATO predicament affects the hearts of the entire country. It touches on Sweden’s long-standing willingness to avoid taking firm positions on contentious issues, namely to remain neutral. After all, Sweden managed to remain neutral throughout World War II.

This moral ambivalence worries many Swedes, according to one observer. The question on many Swedes’ minds now is: “Are we willing to shrug morality again just to join NATO?” The answer for most is: “If the price of joining NATO is at the expense of the Kurds, it’s not worth it. “

A dilemma is a problematic situation for which there is no clear solution. Did the benefits of NATO membership for Sweden itself and the Western world outweigh the generosity, candor and democratic instinct of the Swedish people to support the Kurds and their struggle for independence or at least self-government?

If this is the case, Sweden needs to determine how far Erdogan will ask them to restrict the freedom of the Kurdish minority, and act accordingly. If not, the Swedes, NATO and the Western world will have to accept the status quo, in which Sweden is outside NATO but works as closely with it as possible.

Source : ifeng.com