Chairman of the Swedish Left Party (Vänsterpartiet) Jonas Sjöstedt has asked the government of Sweden to halt the export of arms to Turkey amid the worsening human rights record of the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Speaking at a debate on European Council reports in the Swedish parliament (Riksdag), Sjöstedt directed criticism at acting Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on December 17, 2018.
Sjöstedt expressed that the conflicts in Syria and Yemen are the main causes for a refugee crisis in Europe and suggested imposing an EU-level arms embargo on countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“… Turkey, among other things, through ethnic cleansing in Afrin, is contributing to major refugee disasters in the Syrian conflict. Stopping weapons export will work for the end of the conflicts and actually will discourage people from being displaced,” Sjöstedt said.
Löfven said there is currently no discussion of any arms embargo in the EU and recalled that Sweden has already amended its legislation to make arms sales more difficult for countries that do not abide by democratic rules.
However, he did not signal a fresh policy change against these countries.
Sweden is among the top 10 weapons exporters in the world. Norway, the US and Japan are the top buyers, while the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan import a large amount of weapons from Sweden as well. Sweden recently added the Philippines to its client list.