Prosecutors in Sweden charged a man with a series of offences on Friday, including attempted terrorist financing, saying he was acting on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), just days before the resumption of the country’s NATO accession talks with Turkey.
While the charges against the man, whose identity remains undisclosed, also include violent and armed offences, the country’s prosecution authority has said it was the first time anyone had been charged in the country with attempting to provide financing to the PKK.
Sweden recently enacted a tougher anti-terrorism law in response to Turkey’s conditions for approval of the country’s membership in NATO. The law’s broadened scope includes criminalising activities such as handling equipment, organising camps, or providing transport for terrorist organisations, which sparked concerns about its potential impact on the Kurdish community and civil liberties in the country.
Adding to a string of controversial judicial rulings in line with Turkey’s demands in return for the approval of the Nordic country’s NATO bid, Sweden’s top court recently authorised the extradition of a PKK supporter to Turkey for a past offence related to drugs.
The accused was convicted in 2014 in Turkey over possession of cannabis and was sentenced to four years and seven months in prison. He reportedly legally relocated to Sweden in 2018 after he was released from prison on parole due to good behaviour. In August, he was re-arrested in Sweden upon the request of Turkish prosecutors, who now seek to enforce the remainder of his 2014 sentence.
Addressing the court, the man said that he believed that Ankara requested his extradition due to his pro-Kurdish activities and support for the PKK, as well as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in Syria and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey.
Meanwhile, Ankara continues to press for additional steps from Stockholm ahead of next week’s NATO talks. On Wednesday, Turkey’s new Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan called on Stockholm to take more concrete steps, Al-Monitor reported.
Turkey opposed the Swedish application for NATO membership after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The Turkish government has since set some conditions, including the extradition of people whom Turkey calls terrorists, and the Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has promised to comply with Turkish demands.