Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 29 January 2019. (Photo credit: Adem Altan—AFP/Getty Images)
A Swedish prosecutor announced on 16 January that there will be no formal inquiry into a protest that took place last week in Stockholm during which a life-size effigy of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was suspended from a lamppost by its feet, reported by Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.
Outrage in Turkiye was sparked by a viral video clip that surfaced last week showing an effigy of Erdogan hanging upside down outside Stockholm’s city hall.
On 13 January, Turkish authorities opened an inquiry into the recent incident in Sweden, with Turkish media claiming the act could affect Ankara’s approval of Sweden’s bid to join NATO.
Nevertheless, Swedish prosecutor Lucas Eriksson legally determined that the activity was not punishable under Swedish law.
“I received the case as defamation, but did not think it could amount to defamation. Therefore, I decided not to initiate a preliminary investigation,” prosecutor Eriksson told Aftonbladet.
Meanwhile, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson called the act “extremely serious” and an attempt to sabotage the nation’s NATO application.
“I think we are still in a very good negotiating situation with regard to the memorandum that we agreed,” Kristersson told a press conference, as he believes that the situation has not changed, and that the decision remains in Turkiye’s hands.
“We are convinced that sooner or later, we will be a member of NATO. I am very confident by the fact that Sweden and Finland are doing exactly what they promised to do in the memorandum, and that is what we are bound to,” he added.
A few weeks ago, Reuters reported that talks between the two countries are progressing well, with Stockholm claiming that Ankara is close to ratifying Sweden’s request to join NATO.
Tensions between Ankara and Stockholm derive from Turkiye’s accusations that Sweden is complicit in harboring members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the People Defense Units (YPG), based in Syria, which Turkiye considers terror organizations.
Turkiye holds the PKK responsible for the November 2022 bombing in Istanbul.