Sweden arrests Turkish man suspected of being PKK regional leader

STOCKHOLM/BERLIN (Reuters) - Swedish police on Wednesday arrested a Turkish man who is wanted by Germany on suspicion of being a senior member of the PKK Kurdish militant group, officials said.

The man was arrested around 0630 GMT at Arlanda airport, the country’s largest, near Stockholm.

“The person in question is accused of being a member of a foreign terrorist group, namely the PKK,” a spokeswoman for Germany’s Chief Federal Prosecutor told Reuters.

She added the suspect was a Turkish citizen, suspected of being one of the PKK’s so-called regional heads in Germany between July 2012 and July 2014.

Swedish prosecutors are handling an extradition request.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

Thousands of militants and hundreds of civilians and soldiers have been killed since the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) resumed its fight for greater autonomy last summer, wrecking a 2-1/2-year ceasefire and peace process.

Germany is home to about 3 million people of Turkish origin. Roughly one in four are ethnic Kurds who came to Germany to work in the 1960s and 70s, or as refugees fleeing violence in the 1980s and 90s.

As Germany scrambles to contain a diplomatic row with Turkey over a comedian’s mocking of President Tayyip Erdogan, officials are growing worried about another byproduct of their migrant pact with Ankara: an upsurge in violence between nationalist Turks and militant Kurds on German soil.

Reporting by Daniel Dickson in Stockholm and Michael Nienaber in Berlin; Editing by Alison Williams