Swedish TV hosts Kurdish satirist, Ankara summons Swedish ambassador

10/6/2022 1:29:36 PM
 Kadir Meral on SVT's "Svenska Nyheter" show, September 30, 2022
 photo: KurdSat English/ Screenshot
Sweden's STV aired the show in Kurdish for over two minutes.

Swedish News' weekly satirist show, similar to American talk shows, makes fun of politicians and figures worldwide. In its recent episode, named "veto Turk," hosted Swedish-Kurdish Kadir Meral, a satirist who gave a two-minute performance in Kurdish.

Meral calls Erdogan "a fool" and "grumpy," Erdogan is depicted bending over in his underwear for his demands from Sweden in the face of the country's bid to join NATO.

Meral ends his talks by saying long live democracy with a flag of Kurdistan displayed on his left, and the show finishes with Kurdish traditional music of trumpet and drum. 

Turkey formally complained to Sweden over an "ugly" satire TV show that aired "insulting content" about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Middle East Eye reported. 

On Wednesday, the Turkish foreign minister handed the Swedish Ambassador a strongly worded complaint, KurdSat English has learned.

It was claimed that the statements could not fall under freedom of expression, Reuters reported. The move sparked fierce criticism in Turkey. The pro-Erdogan newspaper Sabah called the show a "shame for Swedish television."

"The Turkish foreign ministry summoned today the Swedish ambassador to Ankara, Staffan Herrstrom, because of a broadcast on Swedish television (SVT) that contained insulting statements and images against Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan," Anadolu news agency wrote.

In the dressing down, Herrstrom was told that the "impertinent and ugly expression and images" about Erdogan and Turkey were unacceptable, according to the agency. 

"We had seen it before in German cases where comedians played with Erdogan when he gave it a lot of space and was upset about it and affected the diplomatic relations with the countries, citing SVT's Turkey correspondent Tomas Thorén Tellerport reported.

Svenska Nyheter publisher Ebba Adielsson does not want to comment on the Turkish criticism specifically but says that it will not affect the program's content going forward, the Swedish paper Expressen reported.


Sweden is home to a substantial Kurdish diaspora that have many members in the Swedish national assembly and hold several senior positions in the government, denying Swedish-Kurdish citizens the same rights are other Swedish citizens is not fair, a Kurdish activist told KurdSat English. 


This show comes before a Swedish delegation travels to Turkey next week to talk Erdogan into their membership in NATO, as the war in Ukraine takes unexpected and rapid turns. 

On 28 June 2022, in the sidelines of NATO summit in Madrid; Turkey, Sweden, and Finland signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding (MOU) to address security concerns raised by Turkey and lift Turkey's veto on Finland's and Sweden's membership of NATO. 

The TMOU seems to have stalled, and it seems that freedom of expression in Sweden might be one of the main obstacles in front of the country joining NATO, as Turkey's suppression of dissidents has been one of its main obstacles to joining the EU in the past two decades.

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