Sweden’s Housing Minister to Leave After Comments on Israel

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -
Sweden's Housing Minister Mehmet Kaplan speaks during a news conference at the seat of the Government in Stockholm, Sweden April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jessica Gow/TT News Agency?ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN. NO COMMERCIAL SALES.
Sweden’s Housing Minister Mehmet Kaplan speaks during a news conference at the seat of the government in Stockholm, Sweden, Monday. (Reuters/Jessica Gow/TT News Agency)

Sweden’s Housing Minister Mehmet Kaplan will resign following comments where he likened Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to what happened to Jews in Nazi Germany, the prime minister said on Monday.

The comments that the daily Svenska Dagbladet first reported last week were made in 2009, before Kaplan entered the newly formed center-left government to represent the minor coalition partner the Green Party in 2014.

The resignation comes amid reports of tensions within the center-left minority coalition government of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s Social Democrats and the Green Party.

The coalition had already been strained by an asylum crisis last year. Deputy Prime Minister Asa Romson of the Greens was close to tears when tougher asylum policies were presented late last year and criticism from within her party has been fierce.

Kaplan, who was born in Turkey, has also been criticized for appearing on pictures from a dinner where representatives from an ultra-nationalist Turkish organization attended.