Turkey summons Swedish envoy over ‘heinous’ protest action

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FILE – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a ceremony, in Ankara, Turkey, on May 16, 2022. Even by the standards of Turkey’s and Greece’s frequently strained relations, it was a remarkable escalation. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan directly threatened his country’s western neighbor: Unless the Greeks “stay calm,” he said, Turkey’s new ballistic missiles would hit their capital city. The striking rhetoric has led many to question the reasons behind it, and whether it could be a harbinger of even more alarming developments, including potential armed conflict between the two neighbors, both NATO members. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey has summoned the Swedish ambassador to convey Ankara’s displeasure after a mannequin depicting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was hung outside the city hall in Stockholm, state broadcaster TRT reported.

Turkish officials on Thursday described the incident as “terrorist propaganda” by supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and other Kurdish militant groups.

TRT said the ambassador was informed that Turkey strongly condemns the “heinous act.” Turkish officials also said the act was contrary to an agreement that Turkey has reached with Sweden and Finland under which the two promised to crack down on Kurdish militants as they seek Turkish approval for their NATO membership bids.

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström condemned the act.

“The government is committed to an open debate on political choices but strongly rejects threats and hatred against political representatives. Portraying an elected president as executed outside City Hall is abhorrent,” Billström wrote on Twitter.

Fahrettin Altun, the communications director for Erdogan’s office, responded to Billström’s tweet by condemning the incident and urging Swedish authorities “to take necessary steps against terrorist groups” without delay.

“That PKK terrorist can challenge the Swedish government at the heart of Stockholm is proof that the Swedish authorities have not taken necessary steps against terrorism – as they have been claiming in recent days,” Altun tweeted in English.

In November, the ambassador was similarly summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry after images that allegedly insulted Erdoğan were projected on the Turkish Embassy building in Stockholm.

Sweden and Finland abandoned their long-standing policies of military nonalignment and applied for membership in the military alliance after Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

NATO-member Turkey hasn’t yet endorsed their accession, which requires unanimous approval from all existing alliance members.

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