Turkey has approved Sweden's NATO application, but Hungary wants to negotiate membership. This was one of the topics that characterized the debate on the opinion pages last week. Photo on the left: European Parliament. Source: Flickr. Photo on the right: Mikhail Klimentyev. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Current debate

Week 4: Debater on the NATO process: "Turkey and Hungary seized the opportunity to blackmail Sweden"

On January 23, Turkey's parliament approved Sweden's NATO application. This marked the Swedish ones the debate and leader pages under the past week, and several debaters reasoned, among other things, about whether the membership has been discussed sufficiently or not. Even Richard Jomshof's (SD) statement to ban Muslim symbols raisede reactions during the week.  

Turkey has indeed decided to approve Sweden's NATO application, but Hungary remains - which wants to negotiate membership.

- If defense policy were an amusement park, the Turkish NATO roller coaster would be a fantastic attraction.

That's what Erik Helmerson writes, lead writer at Dagens Nyheter, about the tours around Sweden's NATO membership, which has been going on since May 2022.

Henrik Jalalian, lead writer at Dagens ETC, also comments on the protracted process, and believes that Sweden quickly experienced "the unpredictable geopolitics of the 2020s":

- No one had a plan B when the NATO application was hurriedly submitted. Turkey and Hungary seized the opportunity to blackmail Sweden, he writes.

Henrik Jalalian also believes that the consequences of NATO membership have not been debated enough.

- In 20 years Swedish youth may be sent to fight in the South China Sea. Have we talked enough about such scenarios?, he writes.

However, Mimmi Björnsdotter Grönkvist, lead writer at Expressen, disagrees.

- The NATO process has been closely monitored by the media from the start, and highlighted from many different angles by both news journalists and opinion leaders, she writes.

Jomshof's play on Muslim symbols

The crescent moon is an important symbol in Islam and for Muslims, but Sweden Democrat Richard Jomshof wants to ban the symbol. Aftonbladet's lead writer Susanne Kierkegaard draws parallels between Jomshof's proposal and similar bans that have been implemented in Russia. These have severely limited the rights of LGBTQ people, as even small symbols, such as rainbow-colored shoelaces, can lead to prison sentences. She also writes that the arguments of the man who drafted the Russian anti-gay law are similar to Richard Jomshof's reasoning.

- The people must be protected against what he perceives as ideologically frightening. Udden is aimed at already vulnerable groups, such as LGBTQ people or Muslims, she writes.

Susanne Nyström, lead writer for Dagens Nyheter, believes that Jomshof's proposal highlights the importance of religious freedom in Sweden, because the constitution exists to protect those who deviate from the majority.

- Apart from the fact that the insinuation shows why smaller groups need to be protected to guarantee the same freedom as others, it is a populist issue. There is no homogeneous people with one and the same will, she writes.

Sweden's NATO membership 

Here is the roller coaster that (perhaps) brought Sweden into NATO

Erik Helmerson, editorial writer, Dagens Nyheter  

The Swedes' NATO joy may be short-lived

Henrik Jalalian, editorial writer, Dagens ETC  

Swedish peace has been lost in the NATO debate 

Mimmi Björnsdotter Grönkvist, editorial writer, Expressen 

Our criticism of Orbán has sometimes been ignorant

Erik Zsiga, communications consultant and writer, Expressen debate   

Finally, Turkey voted yes. Despite SD. 

Editorial board, Sydsvenskan  

Here are the lessons of two years of NATO wrangling with Turkey

The editorial staff, Dagens Nyheter

Statement by Richard Jomshof 

Susanne Nyström: Religious freedom protects Muslims from Jimmie Åkesson and Richard Jomshof 

Susanne Nyström, Editorial writer, Dagens Nyheter 

Jomshof wants to ban everything that frightens him 

Susanna Kierkegaard, Editorial writer, Aftonbladet 

Jomshof wants to elevate his offense to law 

Mimmie Björnsdotter Grönkvist, Expressen 

We must help Jomshof to a meaningful leisure time 

Henrik Jalalian, Editorial writer, Dagens ETC 

Is there something in the text that is not correct? Contact us at opinion@fuf.se

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