Sweden’s share of PKK terror financing greater than Finland’s: NATO negotiators
Oscar Stenström says that more and more incidents of gang violence in Sweden are linked to the terrorist group PKK.
Sweden has a larger share of the PKK terror group’s funding compared to Finland, Stockholm’s chief negotiator for NATO said.
Speaking to state-owned Sveriges Radio, Oscar Stenström said: “Unlike Finland, we have a larger share of the funding for the PKK from Sweden.”
Both countries are bidding to join the NATO alliance, but face opposition from Türkiye because of their ties and tolerance of the PKK terrorist organization and its offshoots.
Stenström further said that he recognizes that the PKK is involved in the drug market, which is considered one of the terrorist organization’s main financing channels.
Sweden is currently experiencing the most violent gang-related violence with over 300 shootings and bombings recorded in 2022, resulting in 63 people being killed. Stenström said there is a direct connection between the gang violence and the PKK terrorist group.
“These people are often multi-taskers in their field. Terrorist financing and serious crime are connected – yes. It is far from explaining everything, but extortion, arms and drug financing are in this area,” he said.
According to a trilateral memorandum signed in June by Sweden, Finland and Turkey during a NATO summit held in Madrid, the two Nordic states pledged to distance themselves from terrorist groups and take concrete measures against them.
Why Sweden is escalating tensions with Turkey and jeopardizing the country’s entry into NATO
Turkish Communications Director Fahrettin Altun:
– Strongly condemns that members of the PKK terrorist group in Sweden target Türkiye, its president
– Sweden must keep promises made in Madrid to join NATO, pointless to expect Turkey to make concessions pic.twitter.com/ZJ4ikbOfpn
— TRT World (@trtworld) January 12, 2023
“Frozen” NATO bid
The Swedish NATO process has stalled after Swedish authorities allowed a far-right political figure to burn a copy of the Koran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, while for Finland it appears to be a straight path forward.
Stenström said that negotiations on NATO accession with Türkiye are currently frozen. “It’s not profitable to hold talks right now. Everyone has to work somewhere and then we’ll see how long this break lasts,” he told the radio host.
Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto has recently suggested that the country may disengage and consider joining NATO without Sweden if Türkiye continues to block their joint bid to join the alliance.
In a recent interview with Anatolia, Stenström said that the promises from the Nordic countries were a top priority for the Swedish government. “We are working on everything, we will fulfill the total agreement.”
In response to a question about Sweden’s support for the PKK terrorist group, Stenström said that this was no longer the case. “Yes, we have changed. And we have better realized the security problems in Türkiye. This will also improve the security in Sweden.
“Sweden must and will never be a haven for any terrorist, and that is why we are also expanding our cooperation between our security services. We are devoting more money to these services and defense. We will be happy to cooperate together in NATO.”
Anger in Türkiye when Sweden rejects the lawsuit against PKK supporters