Swedish FM pushes back against Turkish ‘disinformation’ on Stockholm’s PKK policy

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Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde has pushed back against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s claims that Stockholm is soft on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group, saying her country recognized the PKK as a terrorist organization in 1984.

Designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the EU and the US, the PKK has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Erdoğan is holding up Sweden and Finland’s accession bid to join NATO, claiming that the two Nordic countries are lenient on the PKK and that they support the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey sees as the PKK’s offshoot in Syria.

“Due to the vastly spread disinformation about Sweden and PKK, we would like to recall that the Swedish Government of Olof Palme was first after Turkey to list PKK as a terrorist organization, already in 1984,” Linde tweeted, noting that the EU followed suit in 2002.

Sweden’s position, the minister said, “remains unchanged.”

Erdoğan this week had said that Turkey had requested the extradition of 30 “terrorists” from Sweden but that it was turned down by Stockholm.

On Friday he said that if NATO was sensitive to Turkey’s concerns, it should not extend membership to the two countries.

Many observers have indicated that Turkey’s objections might be part of Erdoğan’s aims to gain concessions from the United States.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg insisted on Thursday that consensus could still be found on Stockholm and Helsinki’s membership bids.

“I am confident that we will come to a quick decision to welcome both Sweden and Finland to join the NATO family,” he said.

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