Swedish FM Wallström cancels Turkey visit over its military campaign in Afrin

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has cancelled her Turkey visit in two weeks due to the Turkish military campaign in Afrin province of northern Syria, according to a report by Swedish Radio’s Ekot News Service.

According to the report saying “The government is taking a stand against Turkey’s attacks in Syria,” Wallström was planned to have a meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara and she was planning to meet with Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during her visit The Swedish Foreign Ministry’s visit has been postponed indefinitely.

Ekot said the visit was postponed due to Turkish military attacks in Syria. The visit was also mentioned in the parliamentary session where the operation against Afrin were discussed. Left Party MP Amineh Kakabaveh and Greens MP Jabar Amin said they think Wallström cancelling her visit to Turkey is a positive development.

Meanwhile, a minute’s silence was held in the Swedish Parliament for the people who lost their lives in Afrin on Tuesday. Left Party and Greens’ deputies, who took the matter to the Swedish Parliament’s agenda through written inquiries wore yellow, red and green Kurdish scarves. Left Party deputy Amineh Kakabaveh gave a scarf as a present for the Swedish FM Wallström.

The Swedish parliamenters called on the government to pressure Ankara to stop its “illegitimate” attacks on the Kurdish region of Afrin. “We are working within the Swedish and European Parliament to stop the fierce attack by Turkey on Afrin which has left innocent civilians, including women and children, dead,” Kakabaveh told Kurdistan 24.

Amin of the Green Party has also called on Sweden to “withdraw its ambassador from Ankara and declare its rejection of the brutal attacks by the Turkish army on Afrin and other areas in western Kurdistan.”

Also on Tuesday, the European Parliament has released a statement with the signatures of about 70 EP members and called on the European Union and the United Nations to take action in order to stop Turkish military actions immediately.

“In the past few days, Turkish air strikes have been launched against Afrin, a Kurdish region in Northern Syria, killing and wounding several civilians. This Turkish military operation is taking place without any provocation or attack by either Kurds in this region, or by Syria,” said the statement and continued as follow:

“The European signatories of this declaration urge the European Commission and the Member States to redouble their political efforts to demand that Turkey immediately stops its military offensive. We also request the urgent reactivation of the dialogue in the framework of the Geneva talks on Syria, involving all parties, including the Kurds.

“We further recognise that the fight of the Kurds in the front line against ISIL also contributes to European security. The destabilisation that Turkey’s attack will cause in this area seriously threatens the security of the entire region. The silence or equidistance of the European Union and the international community is not an option.

“We, the undersigned MEPs, call on the EU and the UN to take action in order for these attacks to stop immediately.”

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