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Sweden evades Turkey’s demands amid attempt to join NATO

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Sweden angered Turkey again when a group of PKK supporters hung an effigy of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Stockholm last Thursday. The Scandinavian country, along with Finland, earlier seemed eager to allay Turkey’s concerns about its tolerance of terrorist groups, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gulen terrorist group.

But as Turkey approaches general elections, Stockholm has proven itself to be slow to take concrete action against terrorist groups.

Ankara believes that the recent demonstration by supporters of the PKK is a tangible display of Sweden’s failure to implement the steps required under the tripartite memorandum signed with Finland and Turkey during the NATO summit in Madrid. One of the key elements of NATO is unwavering solidarity and cooperation in the fight against terrorism, the letter says, “which poses a direct threat to the national security of Allies.” The latest incident shows that both countries are awaiting the Turkish elections scheduled for June, although Erdogan has indicated that the elections could be rescheduled to an earlier date.

Sweden’s Supreme Court was recently behind a controversial ruling refusing to extradite Bülent Keniş, a high-profile figure in the FETÖ terrorist organization who is wanted by Turkey. However, there are still questions about whether he will be subject to a retrial after a tough anti-terrorism law came into force earlier this month. In addition, further constitutional amendments to improve counter-terrorism efforts are expected to be implemented in Sweden on July 1. On the other hand, one day after the PKK supporters gathered, the Swedish media announced that the government had ratified a December ruling by a Supreme Court. Against the extradition of four FETÖ fugitives to Turkey. Stockholm approved the decision on December 22, 2022. One of the four names is Murat Çetiner, a suspect in the FETÖ terrorist organization, who, like Kennish, has been sheltered by Sweden, despite accusations of terrorism leveled at him by Turkey. Gettiner told Swedish radio he was pleased with the decision.

In view of these developments, a tripartite meeting between Turkey, Sweden and Finland will be held soon. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg suggested holding the meeting in Brussels, according to Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Cavusoglu said Ankara had accepted the proposal.

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