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22 Oct, 2022 10:08

Sweden updates Türkiye on ‘concrete actions’ – Reuters

The Swedish security services have intensified counter-terrorism efforts against Kurdish militants, Stockholm claims
Sweden updates Türkiye on ‘concrete actions’ – Reuters

Sweden has informed Türkiye of its additional measures against Kurdish militants, and is ready to work with Ankara on the extradition of terrorist suspects in order to address Turkish concerns over Stockholm’s bid to join NATO, Reuters reported on Friday.

The assurances were made in a letter sent by Sweden to the Turkish leadership last week.

According to the two-page document seen by the news agency, Stockholm said it remained “fully committed to the implementation” of the memorandum signed by Sweden, Finland and Türkiye in June.

The agreement saw Ankara lift its veto on Stockholm and Helsinki’s applications to join NATO, filed in May in response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. Türkiye earlier threatened to block their bids, accusing the two Nordic nations of harboring members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and other groups it considers to be terrorist organizations.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has since questioned Stockholm’s implementation of the deal, saying earlier this month that “Finland is not a country where terrorists are roaming freely,” but Sweden is “a place where terror is rampant.”

In the letter to Ankara, the Swedish government insisted that “concrete action has been taken on all core elements of the trilateral agreement.”

Stockholm said it has “carried out new analyses of PKK's role in threats to Sweden's national security and in organized crime (and) this is likely to lead to concrete results.” The country’s security and counter-terrorism police, Sapo, has “intensified” its work against the Kurdish militants, it added.

There have been four extraditions of Turkish citizens from Sweden since 2019, most recently in late August, according to the letter. “Sweden is committed to address… pending extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly” in line with the Swedish law and the European Convention on Extradition, it said.

Turkish diplomatic sources told Reuters that Ankara will continue consultations with Sweden and Finland “to pursue full implementation of the memorandum.”

Türkiye’s government believes that steps still need to be taken by those countries “in combating terrorism, prevention and punishment of incitement to terrorism, improvement of security and judicial cooperation.”