STOCKHOLM – The deputy chairman of a Swedish-Turkish association has resigned after derogatory comments he made about Armenians last week.

Speaking to a crowd of a few dozen in central Stockholm on Saturday, Barbaros Leylani called for Turks to awake, and for death to what he called “the Armenian dogs”. He apologized Monday on the association’s website saying he’d been misunderstood.

Swedish legal watchdog Juridikfronten said it had reported the speech for incitement to racial hatred to police and an the Armenian association in Sweden plans to report Barbaros Leylani to the police, says its chair Garlan Mansourian to Radio Sweden. He says this is not just important for his association, but for all of Sweden, and there needs to be zero tolerance for such statements.

He tells Radio Sweden that if similar statements kept being made then the conflict would intensify and take on another character. He says this is exactly what happened a hundred years ago.

Another of those who has been quick to condemn the speech is Bahar Cetin, the chair of Sweden’s Turkish Youth Association.

She says to Radio Sweden she saw a video recording of the speech on the internet, and was upset, angry and shocked that the deputy chair of the Turkish association would express such racist views.

Her association, which is independent of the bigger association, was quick to condemn the speech in a Facebook post. She says that the statements by Mr Leylani negatively affect 50,000 Swedish-Turks who don’t have anything to do with the speech.

“It leads to us Turks being painted as racists and fascists in the media and in society”, she tells Radio Sweden. She says all Turkish people she’s talked to about the statements have reacted against them, and wondered what Leylani thinks he’s doing.

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