Erdogan portrait lit up in NATO-bound country media

Erdogan portrait lit up in NATO-bound country media

The demonstration in Helsinki was organized by pro-Kurdish ?anti-authoritarian? activists

A group of protesters burned a portrait of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in front of their nation’s embassy in Helsinki over the weekend, Finnish media reported on Wednesday.

Four people ended up being arrested during what turned out to be a chaotic incident, the chief inspector of the Helsinki Police Department, Heikki Porola, told journalists.

The people, who have since been released, failed to comply with lawful orders from officials, he said. There were about 20 protesters at the scene, the official reported. Burning an image of an identifiable person could constitute a crime, Porola added.

The demonstration, held on Sunday, was organized by a self-described “anti-authoritarian group” called A-ryhma (Group A), which shared images of the act on its Twitter account. The group stated that the action was intended to support Kurdistan and to protest against “the NATO membership process, where Sweden and Finland are competing to whitewash Turkey’s war crimes and together plan to suppress the legitimate opposition to it.” The group claimed that police “responded aggressively” to their actions and used pepper spray against one attendee.

Last year, Turkey stymied Finland’s and Sweden’s bids to join NATO by accusing them of harboring “terrorists” from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and other associated groups. It also stated that the Nordic countries undermined their national security by banning arms exports.

A trilateral agreement, signed in June and intended to address Ankara’s grievances, resulted in the lifting of the bans but has so far failed to fully resolve the situation. The group behind the protests on Sunday wants the trade restrictions to be reinstated.

Ankara perceives Kurdish militias in Syria and Iraq as a threat and says they are allied with the Türkiye-based PPK, which waged a protracted guerrilla war against the Turkish government. The Turkish military has conducted several cross-border operations against Kurds over the past decade.

There have been several anti-Turkish protests recently against the backdrop of Ankara’s roadblocks to NATO membership for Finland and Sweden. In January, Kurdish protesters burned an Erdogan effigy in Stockholm, prompting complaints from the Turkish government.

Another protest in Sweden that same month, in which a right-wing activist burned a Koran in front of the Turkish embassy, ​​severely damaged Stockholm’s relations with Ankara and resulted in the Turkish government indicating that it would not back Sweden’s bid.

Finland said it may have to go ahead with NATO membership without Sweden, although the two applicants submitted their bids jointly and sought to join the US-led bloc together.



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