No Swedish politicians represent Kurdish PKK, Foreign Minister says

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A report that some politicians in Sweden represent the Kurdistan Workers Party PKK, a Kurdish militant organization outlawed by the EU, are without basis, Sweden’s foreign minister said on Friday.

“Incorrect reports that Swedish politicians in democratic groups represent the terrorist organization PKK,” Ann Linde said on Twitter. “These are serious accusations that lack any basis.”

A report published on Sunday in Turkish newspaper Turkiye Gazetesi claimed that one Swedish politician had links to the PKK.

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Turkey is opposing applications by Sweden and neighboring Finland to join NATO because, it says, both countries harbur people linked to the PKK and followers of Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt.

Separately on Friday, two sources said talks between Turkish officials and delegations from Sweden and Finland this week in Turkey made little headway overcoming Ankara’s objections to the Nordic countries joining NATO, and it is not yet clear when further discussions will take place.

“It is not an easy process,” a senior Turkish official told Reuters. “They need to take concrete steps that will be difficult. Further negotiations will continue. But a date doesn’t seem very close.”

Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO last week to boost their security in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

All 30 NATO members must approve enlargement plans. But Turkey challenged the move saying the Nordic countries harbor people linked to what it calls terrorist groups, and because they have halted arms exports to Ankara.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday that his country expects Sweden and Finland to take concrete action and halt such support before it lifts its objections.

A separate person close to the situation said the Wednesday talks made no clear progress and ended with no timeline to continue, raising the prospect that Turkey may still oppose the membership bids when NATO holds a summit on June 29-30 in Madrid.

The Swedish and Finnish foreign ministries did not immediately reply to requests for comment on Friday.

The five-hour discussions were cordial and included separate sessions between Turkish officials and counterparts from the two Nordic countries, followed by three-way talks with all parties, the second source added.

A third source told Reuters that Turkish officials downplayed prospects of reaching an agreement before the Madrid summit.

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Sweden not funding or arming ‘terrorist organizations,’ PM tells Turkey

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