Sweden summons Turkey ambassador over writer, activist arrests

Sweden summons Turkey ambassador over writer, activist arrests

STOCKHOLM - Agence France-Presse
Sweden summons Turkey ambassador over writer, activist arrests

AFP photo

Sweden on Aug. 24 said it summoned Turkey’s ambassador over the detention of two Swedish citizens, in a sign of souring relations with the EU-member state candidate.

Ali Gharavi, an IT consultant, was detained while attending a July 5 workshop in Istanbul along with several other human rights activists, including Amnesty International’s Turkey director.     

And Hamza Yalçın, a Swedish-Turkish citizen who writes for a left-wing online magazine, was detained on Aug. 3 in Barcelona on a Turkish warrant.

“I and the rest of the [Swedish] government have since a long time made it clear to Turkish leaders about how we see these cases and the worrying developments in Turkey,” Sweden’s foreign minister Margot Wallstrom said in a Facebook post on Aug. 24. “We have underlined that the latest events have a direct impact on our and the EU’s relationship with Turkey,” she added.  
Turkey accuses the men of “supporting terror groups.”   

Describing his detention in Barcelona as a “Kafkaesque nightmare,” Yalçın wrote in the Swedish daily Expressen on Aug. 24: “My world was collapsing. My holiday had turned into a living hell. Why is this happening to me right now?”   

He said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had “personally” used the multinational police organization Interpol to detain him.     

Wallstrom said Sweden would “make it clear” that Interpol arrest warrants could not be misused for “political purposes.”

“It is especially serious in cases that risk affecting freedom of speech,” she added.  
The ambassador met with Annika Soder, Wallstrom’s state secretary at the foreign ministry on Aug. 24.