Sweden does not fund or arm terrorist organizations, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said Wednesday, refuting Turkish claims and opposition to its NATO bid over its support for Kurdish militant groups, Agence France-Presse reported.
“We are not sending money to terrorist organizations, of course, nor any weapons,” Andersson told a Stockholm press conference.
Her remarks came as Finnish and Swedish delegations began discussions with Ankara on Wednesday, which Andersson said would provide an opportunity to clear up what she said was “confusion” circulating about Swedish support for different groups.
Turkey has opposed the applications of Sweden and neighboring Finland, in particular Sweden, over what it considers leniency toward Kurdish militant groups in the Nordic countries.
Stockholm and Helsinki submitted their bids to join NATO last week, reversing decades of military non-alignment, after political and public support for membership soared following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A membership bid must be unanimously approved and many of the alliance’s 30 members were quick to welcome them.
Turkey has, however, accused Sweden and Finland of acting as hotbeds for terrorist groups and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has insisted Ankara will not approve the two countries’ bids.
Turkey’s presidency on Monday published a list of five demands for Sweden, including calls for an end to funding and supplying arms to Kurdish groups in Syria.
The two Nordic countries have also failed to respond positively to Turkey’s 33 extradition requests over the past five years, Turkish justice ministry sources told the official Anadolu news agency last week.
The agency reported Turkey wanted individuals who were accused of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or of belonging to the Gülen movement blamed for the 2016 failed coup. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed putsch.
Turkey has rebuked Stockholm especially for showing what it describes as leniency towards the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and its western allies.