Jyrki Åland, the chairperson of the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* chapter of Turku, was quoted as saying that it would be a positive matter if Covid-19 deaths would “would do a lot of good” to Varisuo, a neighborhood of Turku where 48% of its inhabitants don’t speak Finnish or Swedish as their mother tongue.
The statement by Åland was criticized by the party. PS party secretary, Simo Grönroos, who said such statements have no place in the party.
The following day, Åland is contacted by tabloid Iltalehti about his statement, which was not supposed to be taken seriously.
Iltalehti: Do you really wish that people will die of Corona in Varisuo?
Åland: No, no, no. It wasn’t said seriously. It was only meant for the audience [listening to the interview] as a joke, a sort of a bad joke, but anyway.
Iltalehti: Is it a joke if you say something like that in such a straightforward manner?
Åland: Well, it depends on the person and how he interprets what I said. You should not take it too seriously.
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Åland did admit that using hindsight, his statement was a bad idea. He said he plans to apologize.
Even if Åland appears to regret what he said, this is not the first time that the PS has made racist and hostile statements against migrants and minorities.