Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde strongly decried Turkey over its repressive policies on freedom of expression, accusing the ruling Justice and Development party of fueling conflicts in Libya, Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh region, as well as committing repeated violations against the sovereignty of the Mediterranean countries.
She also expressed her rejection of the escalating human rights violations and the systematic arrests of Kurdish citizens in Turkey.
In a joint press conference with her Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, Linde demanded the withdrawal of the occupying Turkish forces from the Syrian and Libyan territories, accusing Ankara of being responsible for the division of Syria.
On his part, The Turkish Minister rebuked the Swedish minister for urging Turkey to withdraw troops from Syria and among other things, accused Sweden of supporting Kurdish militants as well as remaining silent over Greece’s alleged mistreatment of migrants — allegations which Greece denies.
“I want to ask this: On whose authority are you telling Turkey to withdraw from Syria or warning Turkey?” Cavusoglu asked. “If you are so sensitive on human rights, why don’t you for once criticize Greece?”
Linde responded to Cavusoglu rebuke by saying: “I am your guest. I would not take a debate here.”
“I will just hope that everybody in Turkey will have the possibility to express their views as frank as you are doing, minister,” she said.
It was a thinly-veiled reference to Turkey’s much-criticized record on freedom of expression, including the jailing of scores of journalists and pro-Kurdish politicians.