Erdogan threatens Sweden of further strained ties

Erdogan threatens Sweden of further strained ties
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Erdogan said Swedish government should take steps against the acts of terrorists on its soil

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara’s relations with Stockholm will further deteriorate should Sweden fails to take steps against the acts of “terrorists” on its soil.

Emphasizing that the Turkish Parliamentary Speaker has cancelled Swedish Parliamentary Speaker’s planned visit to Ankara following a Stockholm demonstration that a life size effigy resembling Erdogan was hung on a pole, the Turkish President said “This visit will not take place, and if they do not take action over such incidents, our relations with Sweden may become much more strained."

Erdogan also reiterated that Ankara will not let Sweden to join the NATO if it does not meet Turkey’s extradition request of terror suspects, during a meeting with Turkish youth in Western city of Fethiye at the weekend, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Pointing out the tripartite agreement signed between Turkey, Sweden and Finland in Madrid in June, “We already told them that Turkish parliament would not approve their NATO accession anyways, if they do not hand over the terrorists to Ankara,” Erdogan said.

According to Erdogan, Turkey is expecting Sweden and Finland to extradite around 130 people.

“Unfortunately, they failed to do it,” Erdogan said.

“Sweden’s Prime Minister [Ulf Kristersson] who is not a bad guy, has visited us. During a joint press conference, I’ve asked him the extradition of Bulent Kenes, a FETO member [Gulen Movement], but Swedish judiciary rejected the extradition of Kenes to Turkey,” Erdogan said.

Last month, Sweden’s Supreme Court has blocked the extradition of Turkish journalist Bulent Kenes who Ankara deems to be a terrorist due to links with the Gulen Movement, a group that Turkey accuses of attempting to overthrow the Turkish government via a failed coup of July 2016. While Ankara denounced the court’s decision as a “very negative development”, Sweden said it was bound to act in accordance with the Supreme Court's ruling.

“We also often see the PKK's [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] demonstrations on their streets and warn them over the issue as well. But despite all these warnings, unfortunately, there was no stopping of such demonstrations,” Erdogan said.

Last week, a life size effigy resembling Turkish President was hung on a pole during a protest in front of the City Hall in Stockholm. While Erdogan’s office immediately condemned the incident, calling on the Swedish authorities “to take necessary steps against terrorist groups without further delay," the president also filed a criminal complaint with the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office demanding an investigation against the perpetrators, which his lawyer deemed to be the PKK.

Erdogan said following the incident, Turkey’s parliamentary speaker has cancelled his Swedish counterpart’s planned visit to Ankara.

“This visit will not take place, and if they do not take action over such incidents, our relations with Sweden may become much more strained," Erdogan said.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb.24, Sweden, alongside with Finland officially applied for NATO membership. The final approval of the two Scandinavian countries’ NATO bids depends on the current 30 member states’ parliaments, where Ankara says it will not approve the accession documents if Stockholm and Helsinki fail to fulfil their commitments, regarding Turkey’s extradition requests of terror suspects.

According to Swedish media, the majority of the people on Turkey’s extradition request list are allegedly linked to PKK, Gulen Movement and various leftist groups which all are designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey. The remaining are charged with fraud-related crimes.