Turkey freezes assets of 82 organisations, people for alleged PKK ties

A woman holds a flag of the PKK during a demonstration against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in central Brussels

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey froze the local assets of 20 organisations and 62 people based in Australia, Japan and various European countries, citing alleged ties with Kurdish militant group PKK, a decision published in the Official Gazette showed on Wednesday.

Turkey's Ministry of Treasury and Finance said the decision was "based on the existence of reasonable grounds" that they committed acts falling within the scope of the law on preventing the financing of terrorism.

The list included three organisations from Germany and another three from Switzerland, both countries that are home to a large Kurdish diaspora. It also named two organisations each from Australia, Italy and Japan.

Other affected organisations were in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom and Iraq-Syria.

A spokesperson for Insamlingsstiftelsen Kurdiska Roda Solen, the one organisation on the list in Sweden, said the group is a humanitarian aid organisation with no operations and no assets in Turkey.

Sweden as well as Finland requested to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in May last year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan raised objections to both requests, citing the Nordic nations' protection of those whom Turkey deems terrorists, as well as their defence trade embargoes. Turkey endorsed Finland's bid in April.

From Sweden, it has demanded further steps to control local members of the Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK), which the European Union and the United States consider a terrorist group.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan told NATO counterparts on Tuesday he was working hard on Sweden's NATO ratification, which the Turkish parliament is debating. He provided a likely timeline of before year-end for the Nordic country to formally join the alliance, a senior State Department official said.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay, additional reporting by Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm; editing by Miral Fahmy and Barbara Lewis)