Turkish defence minister says Sweden, Finland support to terrorists harms NATO

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The Turkish defense minister on Friday said Sweden and Finland provided political, financial and military support to terror groups in a move which threatened not only Türkiye but also NATO.

Speaking to reporters following a 2-day NATO gathering of defense chiefs in Brussels, Hulusi Akar addressed hot-button issues including Turkish concerns over the possible membership of Sweden and Finland to the military alliance.

Akar said the arms restrictions imposed on Türkiye also harmed NATO and did not comply with the spirit of alliance.

He noted that his country seized numerous Swedish-made AT-4 anti-tank weapons during its anti-terrorism operations in northern Syria and Iraq, and this evidence was shared with officials at the NATO meet.

“On the one hand, they say ‘let us grow stronger and unite against all sorts of threats against NATO’, but on the other hand, an arms embargo is imposed on Türkiye. Plus, unlimited support is provided for the terror groups,” he said.

Stressing that Türkiye was the only NATO country fighting terrorism on multiple fronts, he said his country was the final frontier preventing the spread of terrorism to Europe.

Sweden and Finland are under pressure from Türkiye to end their support for the PKK/YPG terror group if they want to join NATO, with Ankara saying the bloc is a security alliance and that any potential members must take a clear stance against terrorism.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK — listed as a terror organization by Türkiye, the U.S., and EU — has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK terror group’s Syrian offshoot.

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