A group of local politicians has prevented a discussion panel on Turkey’s July 15 defeated coup in the Swedish capital Stockholm.
The Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) was planning to discuss the panel titled “July 15th – Behind the Scene of the Bloody Coup”, which Turkey blames on the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).
However, an agreement to hold the discussion panel at a school’s conference hall was cancelled following attempts by local politicians, including Bo Andersson from Stockholm municipal council.
Ozer Eken, head of the union’s Swiss branch, said Friday the school’s headmaster told the union they “have to cancel the agreement for the panel on the instructions of Andersson.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described the move as “unacceptable”.
Speaking to a news channel Friday, Cavusoglu said: “It is a contradiction and [shows] double standards of the countries that always try to give a lesson to Turkey on such matters as freedom of the press and freedom to congregate, but then themselves hinder such types of meetings.”
He said Turkey would closely look into whether the FETO structure in Sweden was behind the cancellation of the event. He said he had contacted his Swedish counterpart and was awaiting a detailed explanation.
Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik also criticized the cancellation on his Twitter account and said it went against basic democratic values, including freedom of expression. Celik called on Swedish authorities to stand alongside Turkey in its fight against FETO.
“Despite all the attempts to cancel it,” the scheduled panel will be held outside the school Saturday,” Eken from the union said. He invited all Turkish citizens to come together to “protest against the lack of freedom of expression in Sweden.”
Led by the U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, FETO is accused of orchestrating the coup plot as well as being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
The July 15 coup attempt left 241 people martyred and some 2,200 injured in Turkey.
*Reporting by Atila Altuntas and Meltem Bulur; Writing by Ayse Humeyra Atilgan.