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Swedish MPs to vote next week on beefing up anti-terror laws

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Sweden’s parliament said Tuesday it would vote next week on a constitutional amendment that would make it possible to beef up anti-terror laws, a key demand from Turkey to approve Stockholm’s NATO membership bid, Agence France-Press reported.

The proposed amendment would make it possible to introduce new laws to “limit freedom of association of groups involved in terrorism”, parliament said in a statement.

Parliament’s announcement of the upcoming vote followed Tuesday’s visit to Ankara by Sweden’s new Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, where he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, Sweden and Finland abandoned their long-held policy of non-alignment and applied to join the military alliance.

But Turkey has blocked Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership applications, accusing Stockholm in particular of being a haven for “terrorists.”

The vote is scheduled for Nov. 16 and the change is expected to enter into force on January 1, according to parliament’s standing committee on constitutional affairs, which recommended MPs approve the proposal.

Experts have said new legislation would make it easier to prosecute members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), blacklisted by Ankara and most of its Western allies.

In Sweden, a constitutional amendment must be approved by two separate parliaments, with a general election held in between.

The first vote was approved under Sweden’s previous left-wing government.

Kristersson — who won Sweden’s September 11 general election — described the constitutional amendment as a “big step.”

“Sweden will take big steps by the end of the year and early next year that will give Swedish legal authorities more muscles to fight terrorism”, he said.

Only the formerly communist Left Party has expressed opposition to the change.

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