In letter sent to Turkey, Sweden says it stepped up action against Kurdish militants
Swedish government said it “stepped up concrete action” in counter-terrorism efforts against Kurdish militants in a letter sent to Ankara dated October 6, Reuters revealed.
The letter gave 14 examples of steps taken by Sweden to show it "is fully committed to the implementation" of a memorandum it signed with Turkey in June, to make Turkey lift its veto of Sweden’s NATO bid.
Sweden and Finland, which have a long history of neutrality in military conflicts, officially applied for NATO membership in May, after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24. While the vast majority of NATO members welcomed Sweden’s and Finland’s bids, Turkey, the second largest army in the alliance, opposed the two countries’ memberships, citing their failure to combat threats to Turkey’s security.
After Sweden and Finland promised to address Ankara’s pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects, Turkey dropped its objections against Sweden and Finland’s membership applications, allowing the military organization to formally invite the two countries for membership at a Madrid summit in June.
But the final approval of their memberships depends on the current member states’ parliaments. The NATO accession protocols for Sweden and Finland need to be ratified by the parliaments of all 30 members, where Ankara says it will not approve the documents if Stockholm and Helsinki fail to fulfil their commitments, regarding Turkey’s extradition requests.
Sapo intensified work against the PKK
While Stockholm openly denies harbouring terrorists, Sweden's security and counter-terrorism police, Sapo, "has intensified its work against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party)", and it made "a high-level visit" to Turkey in September for meetings with Turkey's MIT intelligence agency, the govermmentletter said, according to Reuters.
Sweden's new Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on Thursday that he was ready to head to Ankara to call on Turkey to back his country and Finland joining NATO.
"I have already sent a signal to the Turkish government that we are prepared to go to Ankara immediately," Kristersson said during a EU leaders summit in Brussels on Thursday, three days after taking the office.