Sweden's now submitted NATO application and Swedish arms exports have been high on the agenda in the past week. A potential Swedish NATO membership has aroused both criticism and opposition. Partly because the decision was not voted on by the Swedish people, partly because the application has not been welcomed by Turkey.
On Monday 16 May, Magdalena Andersson announced at a press conference that Sweden will apply for membership in NATO. The decision was made earlier the same day by the government at an extra meeting, after the issue had been debated in the Riksdag. The Prime Minister stated that a majority of the parliamentary parties now support a Swedish NATO membership, reported SVT News.
Later in the evening on May 16, after the government's decision on the NATO issue was announced, Expressen published Kajsa Ekis Ekmans debate article where she criticized the basis on which the government has made the decision. She lacks an explanation for the lack of a referendum or why the decision is not made after the parliamentary election, which falls within four months.
- Anyone who thinks that the situation is so acute that we do not have time to vote, should think about their attitude to the basic democratic principles and study history. In all cases where heads of state have dissolved parliaments, instituted emergency laws or carried out coups, reference has been made to emergency situations, writes Kajsa Ekis Ekman.
The Swedish NATO membership application also met with opposition from Turkey. Fahrett's Altun, head of Turkey's Communications Directorate under President Erdogan, believes that a shared view of terrorism among existing NATO member states and candidate countries is crucial and refers to the PKK - which is branded terrorist by several countries. According to Turkey's perspective, it wants to “fight” the people who are and have been active within the PKK, which include people who have been granted political asylum in Sweden.
- Sweden will not be able to join NATO if not, and until Turkey's legitimate concerns are taken into account, writes Fahrett's Altun.
Turkey now demands Sweden to extradite 21 Kurds to the country for a Swedish NATO application to be accepted.
- The people who are wanted extradited are claimed to be "terrorists", a word that is used against most opposition figures and anyone who in any way expresses criticism of the policies pursued in the country right now, writes Left-wing politicians in Aftonbladet.
Furthermore, V politicians demand that Foreign Minister Ann Linde guarantees that no Kurds will extradited to Turkey.
Sweden's arms trade with Israel questioned
On May 11, journalist Shireen Abu Akleh reported from an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank. During the reporting she was shot to death of what witnesses state was the Israeli military. As a consequence, the Palestinian youth movement is now appealing together with other actors in The outside world that Sweden's arms trade with Israel should cease.
- It is shameful that the Swedish government is doing arms deals with a regime that has been oppressing and terrorizing Palestinians for 74 years, they write.
In March, the Swedish Armed Forces' Materiel Administration entered into a contract with an Israeli arms company, Elbit Systems, which is worth 74 million dollars. It is believed that this should be stopped because the weapons are used, among other things, to kill journalists, as 45 journalists have been killed by Israeli forces since 2000.
- We condemn the assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh and hold the apartheid regime responsible. We demand that the Swedish government do the same, they write in The outside world.
Swedish arms trade with Israel
Oruba Abu-Hammam, The Palestinian Youth Movement, etc., OmVärlden
Sweden's application for NATO membership
Kajsa Ekis Ekman, Expressen
Fahrettin Altun, Expressen
Nujin Alacabek, opposition council in Huddinge (V), etc., Aftonbladet