Sweden has detailed concrete actions it will take to address Turkey’s demands for the Scandinavian country’s NATO bid, including stepping up efforts against Kurds which Ankara claims to be linked to terror groups, Reuters reported on Friday, citing an exclusive letter from Stockholm to Ankara dated 6 October.
The two-page letter gives 14 examples of steps taken by Sweden to show the country’s full commitment to a memorandum signed with Turkey and Finland in June, to convince Ankara to lift its veto blocking the two countries’ applications to join the North Atlantic alliance.
Sweden’s letter came after a delegation of its security and counter-terrorism police (SÄPO) visited Turkey and met members of the Turkish Intelligence Agency in September.
The extradition of a long list of people Ankara categorises as terror suspects, including people linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and to a religious group Turkey holds responsible for the 2016 failed coup was one of the main demands Turkish President Erdoğan put on the negotiation table in exchange for agreeing to lift Turkey’s veto against Sweden and Finland’s bids for NATO accession.
Reuters said that according to the letter, the Swedish authorities “carried out new analyses of PKK’s role in threats to Sweden’s national security and in organised crime (and) this is likely to lead to concrete results.”
“Sweden is committed to address…pending extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly,” taking into account Turkish intelligence, and in accordance with Swedish law and the European Convention on Extradition, Reuters quoted the letter as saying.
Turkey will continue consultations with Sweden and Finland “to pursue full implementation of the memorandum,” Reuters quoted Turkish diplomatic sources as saying. However steps “need to be taken…(in) combatting terrorism, prevention and punishment of incitement to terrorism, improvement of security and judicial cooperation,” the sources added.
Erdoğan answered questions related to Sweden from government-affiliated reporters on his way back from Azerbaijan on Friday.
“Meanwhile, Sweden’s new prime minister asked for an appointment. I told my colleagues ‘give them an appointment’,” Erdoğan said, referring to Ulf Kristersson, the head of the Nordic country’s new right-wing government.
“At the moment the approach of the new prime minister is in favour of the struggle against terrorism and terrorists; he made statements saying ‘we should not accommodate terror and terrorists’. Of course we will test their sincerity during our meeting,” the Turkish president said.
A Finnish delegation will also visit Turkey next week to discuss Turkey’s requests based on the trilateral memorandum.