Fighting extremist groups more firmly is one of Ankara’s main conditions for approving the country’s candidacy for NATO membership, which also requires the unanimity of all members of the alliance.
Sweden’s parliament on Wednesday adopted a new law banning activities linked to extremist groups, strengthening its legislation on terrorism, a prerequisite for Turkey’s approval of Stockholm’s bid to join NATO.
The law criminalizing “participation in a terrorist organization” is due to enter into force on June 1.
Justice Minister Gunnar Stromer said in February that it was a “significant broadening of the scope of application compared to the current legislation”.
He explained that simply providing logistical support to a terrorist organization could be considered a crime under the new law.
Sweden in November amended its constitution to allow for this legislative change, because it was inconsistent with Swedish laws on freedom of association.
Sweden has adopted tougher anti-terror laws since 2017, after an Uzbek asylum-seeker who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State carried out a truck attack on a Stockholm shopping street, killing five people.
Fighting extremist groups more firmly is one of Ankara’s main conditions for approving the country’s candidacy for NATO membership, which also requires the unanimity of all NATO members.
While Finland joined the Atlantic in April, Turkey still refuses to give Sweden the green light, accusing it of being a haven for “terrorists”, especially members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Ankara regularly condemns the pro-Kurdish demonstrations in Sweden.
However, Stromer confirmed in February that “participating in a demonstration or meeting” would not be punishable by law.
For his part, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin announced today, Wednesday, that Turkey plans to hold a tripartite meeting that includes Turkey, Sweden and Finland next June, on the path of Stockholm’s accession to NATO.
In response to a question about how the new Swedish anti-terrorism law will affect the course of Stockholm’s accession to NATO, the Turkish official told reporters: “The reason for our planning for the next meeting in June is the anti-terrorism law that will enter into force on the first of June. We will discuss Sweden’s readiness to move quickly.” regarding law enforcement.
Kalin noted that the tripartite mechanism will continue after Sweden becomes a member of NATO.
He made it clear that he is in constant contact with his counterpart, who is negotiating on behalf of Sweden.
A spokesman for the Turkish presidency stressed the importance of the law that will be enacted, adding, “But we stress that there are still some steps that the Swedish side can take, not only from a legal point of view but also from an administrative point of view, and that it is very important to make the general climate in the country not Terrorist organizations are allowed to operate in Sweden.”