Turkish President: relations with Sweden may deteriorate because of Kurdistan Workers’ Party

Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted that Sweden neither extradites supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party nor impedes their actions in Stockholm. This may increase tension between the two countries, the president of Turkey said.

Sweden neither extradites Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK, considered terrorists by Ankara) supporters to Turkey nor impedes their actions, and this may aggravate relations between Ankara and Stockholm, stated Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Anadolu reports.

The head of state pointed out that the extradition of about 130 “terrorists” is a prerequisite for Turkey to support Sweden’s and Finland’s bid to join NATO. This has not yet been done, Erdogan noted.

He also said that there are rallies of PKK supporters in Stockholm, which Ankara considers unacceptable. According to the Turkish leader, despite “warnings,” Sweden does not impede such demonstrations.

“If they do not act on this situation, it could lead to further tensions in our relations with Sweden,” Erdogan concluded.

The day before, on January 14, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that Sweden was committed to implementing the agreement with Turkey, but it should “take a clearer stance and send a clear signal to terrorist organizations that it is no longer a safe haven for them and that they cannot collect money, recruit members and engage in other activities,” TASS reported.

Both countries applied to NATO last May, and the alliance officially invited them to join in June. However, to complete the process, applications need to be supported by all 30 member countries of the bloc.

Ankara said it had no complaints about the Helsinki bid but had questions about Stockholm’s complicity with “terrorism. At the same time, Finland indicated that it intended to join the alliance together with Sweden.

On Jan. 8, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said his country had fulfilled all its promises, but some conditions could not be met. “They demand things we cannot and do not want to give them,” the Swedish prime minister said, pointing in particular to the impossibility of extraditing Swedish nationals to another country.

President Vladimir Putin noted that the accession of the two Northern European states to NATO does not pose a “threat” to Russia, because Moscow “has no problems” with Helsinki and Stockholm. However, “the expansion of the military infrastructure on the territory of this region will definitely cause” a response from the Russian side.