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Turkey lashes out at Kurdish group in Sweden over controversial Erdoğan tweet

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Turkey on Thursday condemned a video posted by a Kurdish group in Sweden calling President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a “dictator” and showing him swinging by his legs from a rope, Agence France-Presse reported.

A tweet by the Rojava Committee of Sweden on Wednesday compared Erdoğan to Italy’s Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who was hung upside down after his execution in the closing days of World War II.

“History shows how dictators end up,” the group wrote above a video showing pictures of Mussolini’s 1945 execution and then a dummy painted to look like Erdoğan swinging from a rope.

“It is time for Erdoğan to resign. Take this opportunity and quit so you don’t end up hanging upside down in [İstanbul’s] Taksim Square.”

The Rojava Committee tweet came as NATO member Turkey is piling pressure on Sweden and Finland to clamp down on Kurdish groups it views as “terrorists.”

The Nordic neighbors still need Turkey’s approval for their NATO membership bids, which came in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sweden, with its larger Kurdish diaspora, has particularly angered Turkey.

Ankara has dug in its heels during protracted negotiations that hinge on the extent to which Sweden is ready to meet Turkey’s demand to extradite Kurdish suspects and prosecute groups such as the Rojava Committee.

Erdoğan’s chief spokesman said Turkey condemned the Kurdish group’s tweet “in the strongest possible terms.”

“We urge the Swedish authorities to take necessary steps against terrorist groups without further delay,” spokesman Fahrettin Altun tweeted.

His message came in direct response to a tweeted statement from Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom condemning the video.

Stockholm supports “an open debate about politics” but “distances itself from threats and hatred against political representatives,” Billstrom wrote.

“Portraying a popularly elected president as being executed outside city hall is abhorrent.”

The Rojava Committee has developed a history of staging controversial protests in Sweden that attack Turkey for its Kurdish policies.

Turkey has been battling a decades-long insurgency against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

But it has also used its fight against the PKK to justify prosecuting Kurdish politicians and support groups.

Turkey’s top court is now weighing whether to ban the country’s main Kurdish-backed party ahead of elections expected before June.

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