Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has said that new anti-terrorism legislation that will come into effect on June 1 could be seen as the final fulfillment of Turkey's demands to block Sweden from joining NATO.
He published a special column about this in the Financial Times.
Kristersson notes that there are about five weeks left before the NATO summit in Vilnius - when Sweden hopes to become a full member - and it is time to complete the ratification procedure for its accession.
In his opinion, the entry into force of the new anti-terrorist legislation on June 1 will mean the final implementation by Stockholm of the agreement with Ankara regarding the tripartite memorandum on the sidelines of the Madrid summit.
The Prime Minister reminded that the law criminalizes participation in a terrorist group in any way that promotes, strengthens or supports it.
"Thus, we fulfill the last part of our agreement. Sweden fully supports Turkey in the fight against all threats to its national security and condemns all terrorist organizations, including the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party), which carry out attacks against it," the prime minister said. , adding that terrorism is a serious threat in the modern world and it must be fought "by all means compatible with the rule of law and democracy."
Kristersson noted that Sweden has also had an increased terrorist threat since 2010, and now, according to special services, the country has become a priority target for terrorists - in particular, due to scandalous actions with the burning of the Koran and misinformation about how Swedish social services treat Muslim children.
According to the prime minister, the new legislation, first of all, closes the gap in the previous legislation, as until now only direct participation in a terrorist organization was criminalized, and those who helped its members without direct participation could avoid punishment.
Currently, responsibility also threatens for organizational, material or financial support for the participation of other persons in such organizations, public appeals to join their ranks and promotion of such recruitment, trips abroad with the aim of participating in terrorist activities. For the most serious crimes, he can face up to eight years in prison.
For leaders of terrorist organizations, the maximum sanction can be life imprisonment.
Legislative changes also provide for the expansion of cooperation with the EU and NATO to counter terrorist activities, and later with Turkey.
"Sweden is ready to become an active and loyal ally in NATO and to contribute to the security of the entire Alliance from day one. We have significant military capabilities, and we will contribute to a better forward presence of NATO in the Baltic, patrolling the skies over the Baltic Sea and other operations. In fact, only Volodymyr Putin will gain something from the fact that Sweden will continue to remain outside NATO," concludes Ulf Kristersson.
As you know, the protocol on Sweden's accession to NATO was not ratified by only two countries - Hungary and Turkey.
Experts believe that the end of the elections in Turkey opens a new "window of opportunity" to complete the entry of Sweden, as the issue ceases to be a campaign card for Erdogan to play with the conservative electorate.
The second factor should have been the aforementioned law on strengthening the fight against terrorism.
Hungary, which complains of a "lack of respect" from Stockholm for criticizing problems with democracy and the rule of law, is unlikely to dare to remain the last country to block Sweden's entry. Most likely, Budapest will ratify the protocol at the last moment before Ankara does – as it did for Finland's accession.