A dark day for peace: Communists slam Sweden’s likely accession to NATO

As Turkey agreed to lift its veto on Sweden’s accession to NATO, communists in these countries condemned the expanding footprint of the military alliance and the accompanying militarization

July 11, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Vilnius Summit
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson ahead of the NATO summit in Vilnius. Photo: NATO/Twitter

Communists in Sweden have criticized the likely accession of Sweden to the US-led NATO war alliance as its 32nd member.

On July 10, ahead of the opening of the 2023 NATO summit in Vilnius, in a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that he would lift the veto on Sweden’s accession to NATO provided talks were resumed for his country’s EU membership. Turkey’s parliament now has to validate Erdoğan’s decision. Subsequently, the Hungarian government also indicated it no longer had objections to Sweden’s accession. 

Following the talks in Vilnius on Monday, Ulf Kristersson said that it was a good day for Sweden, to which the Communist Party (K) in Sweden responded, “It is a dark day for all friends of peace, who do not want to be part of the US war alliance, it is now time to strengthen the resistance against NATO.”

Turkey had objected to Sweden’s membership bid citing its alleged harboring of dissident Kurdish groups, especially activists of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who have long fought against the ongoing Turkish repression of the Kurds, including through armed struggle. The PKK has been declared a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU. Turkey had also cited recent incidents of the burning of the Quran in Sweden while blocking its membership.

According to reports, in return for lifting the veto, Sweden has allegedly agreed to support Turkey’s pursuit of EU membership, and the US has also reportedly agreed to provide F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. Earlier, Sweden had tightened its anti-terrorist laws in accordance with Turkish demands.

After war broke out in Ukraine, Sweden, along with Finland, applied to join NATO in May 2022, shedding its traditional policy of neutrality. Finland joined NATO as a full member on April 4, 2023, while Sweden’s bid was awaiting Turkish and Hungarian approval. Hungary had objected to Sweden’s membership over the latter’s critical comments on democracy and the rule of law in Hungary. 

Responding to the developments, the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) stated that it is now a matter of time before NATO, “the largest terrorist organization in the world,” furthers expand by taking in another country. “A strengthened NATO with a presence in a wider area means more attacks on the working populations of NATO member countries.. and an increasing threat of war worldwide,” the TKP said.