The Swedish parliament has announced a 16 November vote on constitutional amendments that could tighten anti-terror laws necessary to meet Turkey’s requirements related to its NATO accession bid, reported Deutsche Welle (DW).
Turkey has demanded that Sweden and Finland comply with its demands related to groups it deems terrorist organisations before it accepts the Nordic states’ bids to join NATO.
This includes Kurdish activists and organisations which Ankara says are linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey, NATO and other states define as a terrorist entity, as well as alleged members of the religious movement blamed for orchestrating the failed coup attempt in 2016.
While Ankara says it is protecting Turkey’s security by going after targets in foreign countries, some observers have said the country is using a vague definition of terrorism to harass and silence political dissidents.
The Swedish parliament said in a statement on the 16 November vote that the amendment would allow “restricting the freedom of association of groups engaged in terrorism”. If passed, it will come into force on 1 January 2023.
The statement came after Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on 8 November and promised to fulfil its obligations to Turkey to gain NATO accession.
The newly elected prime minister said that the constitutional amendments include countering terrorism and terrorist organisations like the PKK in Sweden, during his press statement with Erdoğan, Euronews reported.
The bilateral meeting followed a statement last week by Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström, who said Sweden would distance itself from Syrian Kurdish groups over alleged links to the PKK.