Criticism of 'Erdogan regime' got me deported: Swedish-Kurdish MP

Jabar Amin

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - Jabar Amin, a Kurdish lawmaker in the Swedish Parliament, told Kurdistan 24 on Friday that Turkish authorities denied him entry to Turkey, where he was to observe this weekend's elections. He claimed it was because of his stance toward President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

"Yesterday, when I arrived at Ataturk Airport [Istanbul], Turkish security was already waiting. They immediately took me to a [separate] place there and told me that a decision from a higher position had come down that I should not enter the country," Amin said in a live TV interview from Stockholm.

"'You have to be our guest for several hours,' they said. Then, in the evening, they demanded that I get on a plane that took me back to Sweden," he continued, adding that officials were respectful and professional in their conduct with him.

Amin, along with over 60 lawmakers from 17 countries, had been selected by their respective country's parliaments to observe the elections in Turkey for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Turkey is a participating state in the OSCE whose area of responsibility covers all of Europe, Russia, post-Soviet countries, and North America, since the organization's foundation in 1973.

Another OSCE observer, Andrej Hunko of the German Left party (Die Linke), was also denied entry to Turkey.

"They [Turkish customs officers] gave me no official explanation regarding why we could not enter. It was all about an order from a higher place. But we have zero doubts that it was because of our criticism of the Erdogan regime's oppression of the Kurdish and Turkish peoples," Amin stated.

"For them, that meant we are more inclined to report fraud."

"The Turkish regime thinks it has taken a pre-emptive step," he said. "But now, our other [OSCE] colleagues are much more aware of their mission and careful in their observatory role."

According to Amin, the OSCE and Swedish Foreign Ministry responded harshly and demanded an explanation.

"Turkey does not have a right to choose observers as it sees fit. My German colleague and I are authorized by our Parliaments," he said. "Turkey has, in fact, hurt itself more with such disgrace."

"Today I heard from media that the Turkish embassy in Sweden had notified their intelligence about me."

One week earlier, Turkey was critical of an OSCE report that covered several aspects of the elections, including the political process leading to snap announcements, campaigns, and the harsh treatment of President Erdogan's political opponents in the run-up to voting.

Editing by John J. Catherine